Feeds

Ground control? My space helmet is FILLING WITH WATER!

ESA 'naut Parmitano aborts spacewalk after mystery leak

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Any day now you'll start to see pre-release hype for the George Clooney and Sandra Bullock vehicle Gravity, in which the pair star as astronauts cast adrift in space after a nasty accident interrupts a spacewalk.

We mention the flick as a nod to the notional truth/fiction differential, after NASA revealed a real spacewalk by an actual astronaut was aborted yesterday.

The cause was liquid in the helmet of Italian Astronaut Luca Parmitano, who yesterday took a giant leap for mankind by embarking on a spacewalk from the International Space Station. About an hour into the spacewalk, Parmitano complained of liquid in his helmet. So much liquid, in fact, that it was obscuring his vision, threatened to choke him and prevented communication with the ISS and terrestrial assistance.

Parmitano drank all the potable water in his suit's "drink bag", thinking it was the most obvious source of a leak and that if the water was inside him it couldn't float around inside his helmet.

But in the video below, NASA officials have said the drink bag doesn't seem to have been the culprit and the reason for the incident is currently unknown.

Some clues have emerged that hint at the real problem. Parmitano said the water tasted funny, which could suggest it was not water but the iodine-doped antibacterial coolant used to keep the drink bag cold. The astronaut's also reported to have said his extremities remained dry, a data point that will help to determine the likely site of the leak.

Whatever the cause of the problem, the spacewalk was ended after just 92 minutes, five hours short of the mission plan.

That's not all bad: a 92-minute spacewalk is a new record for the shortest such extra-vehicular excursion.


Video streaming by Ustream

NASA has promised to let us all know just what happened once it figures it out. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.