back to article Space-walker nearly OPENED HELMET to avoid DROWNING

Back in July, Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano went for a spacewalk from the International Space Station. The sortie broke a record for the shortest spacewalk of all time because his helmet filled with water, leading to a swift termination lest he suffer the bizarre fate of drowning in space. Parmitano's now blogged details …

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  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Drowned in space...

    Oh the irony!

    I sense a really good SF murder mystery... There was something by, um, Heinlein? involving a spacer who discovers the space station cat has left a kitten in his spacesuit.

    1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Drowned in space...

      ..There was something by, um, Heinlein? involving a spacer who discovers the space station cat..

      A C CLARKE!

      I don't know why Heinlein seems to have become the de facto science-fiction quote reference. A bit like Oscar Wilde. He wasn't a particularly good writer, but he appealed to the American psyche for some reason. Possibly the mindless violence...

      1. andreas koch
        Unhappy

        A minute silence please

        for our valiant first playmonaut, who did not survive drowning in his spacesuit.

      2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Drowned in space...

        @Dodgy Geezer

        Apologies to the late Arthur C. I should know better, but I didn't have time to check (and I have a lot more Heinlein than Clarke in my collection).

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Drowned in space...

        It's true there is a lot more violence in Heinlein books than in Clarke books. One of the reasons the Heinlein ones are much more realistic and convincing.

        Reading Clarke is uplifting and often thrilling, but it's a bit like the Whig interpretation of history: everything is continually getting better, and (except for some fairly obvious constructs) there are no bad people.

        Heinlein understood that homo sapiens is "the most dangerous animal in the universe". You may not like that fact, but it's hard to dispute unless you live in an insulated ivory tower.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Drowned in space...

          You need to specify which period Clarke you're talking about; his later books are rather less cheery about human behaviour. Sadly, but hardly surprisingly, all of the 'golden age' authors are becoming dated to read.

          ( not unlike the 'mysterious dome isolates town' story, which goes back to Simak, Wyndham, et al )

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Drowned in space...

            "Sadly, but hardly surprisingly, all of the 'golden age' authors are becoming dated to read."

            Some were always awful - like L. Ron Hubbard

            1. keith_w
              Angel

              Re: Drowned in space...

              Not True! L. Ron Hubbard was never good enough to Awful!

              1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
                Holmes

                Re: Drowned in space...

                Yet Hubbard won the bet with Heinlein about whether more bacon could be brought in by creating a cargo cult for idiots rather than writing SciFi.

                Good business acumen. Though sadly bereft of any ethics.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Drowned in space...

            "You need to specify which period Clarke you're talking about; his later books are rather less cheery about human behaviour".

            I may have missed the later books, as I found his SF rather too much like non-fiction. (Asimov was another writer whose non-fiction could sometimes be more exciting than his fiction, due to his uncanny ability to fashion characters out of solid wood). What little I know of Clarke's own life might suggest reasons for that trend.

            "Sadly, but hardly surprisingly, all of the 'golden age' authors are becoming dated to read".

            I can hardly think why. In the 1960s we all assumed that, by 2013, men would have set foot on the inner planets and would perhaps be living in permanent bases on the Moon, Mars, and some of the asteroids. Instead, we are still chained to Earth - hardly anything has changed since 1960, except that we can send unmanned probes to the edge of the solar system. Computers have evolved marvellously, but in principle they can't do much that Charles Babbage couldn't have imagined. And as for personal and social progress... well, it's unclear whether there has been any, and if so in which direction.

        2. Uffish

          Re: dangerous animal...

          You are forgetting the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal. I defy you to prove me wrong.

          And here on earth the mosquito far outclasses mere humans.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: dangerous animal...

            It's possible that, within a limited geographical area, the mosquito - or, to be more accurate, the malaria plasmodium - has killed more human beings than other human beings have.

            But think of all the other species that homo sapiens has exterminated or driven to the edge of extinction. If you take off the blinkers and consider all-round destruction, there is only one champion!

        3. Vociferous

          Re: Drowned in space...

          > Reading Clarke is uplifting and often thrilling, but it's a bit like the Whig interpretation of history: everything is continually getting better,

          Historically speaking, this is actually true. The present is without doubt the most prosperous, peaceful, and free time humanity has ever seen, and the interesting thing is that _this has been true for at least the past 300 years_.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Drowned in space...

        Ah, El Reg - where you can't even discuss science fiction authors without someone trashing on Americans for liking the wrong ones. Why do I get the feeling that the average Reg commentard would sift through a conversation about ancient Rome and manage to blame the United States for something?

      5. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Drowned in space...

        Heinlein wrote about a Cat who could walk through walls.

        That's probably why people associate cats in space w Heinlein.

      6. Rattus Rattus

        Re: Heinlein appealing to the American psyche

        I would suggest it is largely due to the libertarian beliefs of Heinlein's protagonists. They're all about "Freedom!" and "Self-reliance!" which are myths that seem particularly dear to the hearts of Americans.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Heinlein appealing to the American psyche

          @Rattus Rattus: You can be too naive, but you can also be too cynical - and British people perhaps tend to that. Now I have been a Heinlein fan since 1959 or so, and I'm Scots-Irish (and a confirmed cynic). You may scoff at freedom and self-reliance as discredited ideals, but they matter even if you admit that human beings are intrinsically social and interdependent.

          How often have you heard it said that a good marriage or partnership depends on two people who can survive - and indeed thrive - alone? Not two mutually dependent weaklings who are both looking for a parent figure to sustain them.

          Likewise, as far back as Plato and beyond it has been well understood that, while democracy is potentially a good system of government, it works only when the people are individually robust, self-reliant, educated, and mature.

        2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: Heinlein appealing to the American psyche

          "Freedom!" and "Self-reliance!" which are myths

          Extreme faceplam demanded. Myths? Is this like the modern version of Logan's Run?

          "Freedom and Self-reliance are MYTHS! You will DIE if the government doesn't constantly HELP AND TAX YOU!!11!"

          Also:

          Jeff Riggenbach: Was Robert A. Heinlein a Libertarian?

          Isaac Asimov, who knew Heinlein from the mid-'30s on, was convinced that his personal political views were largely a function of the woman he was married to at the time. In the '30s, when he was married to wife #2, Leslyn MacDonald, whom Asimov describes as "a flaming liberal," Heinlein was working with Upton Sinclair and his EPIC movement. Twenty years later, married to wife #3, Virginia Gerstenfeld, he re-emerged as a Cold Warrior fixated on the supposed nobility of the military and newly devoted to a "free market" for which he had had little use during the years of the Great Depression.

          If so it was, I say, "so be it." Many men have tailored their beliefs to match those of their wives. They have found that it helps to preserve and promote domestic harmony. And they believe that domestic harmony is a valuable thing, a thing worth preserving. Robert A. Heinlein was hardly the only man, or even the first man, to venture down this path.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Heinlein appealing to the American psyche

            Have you considered the null hypothesis - that Heinlein, like all intelligent people, matured and gradually changed his views as he grew up? Also, WW2 might have had something to do with making him a believer in the need to "water the tree of liberty with the blood of patriots" - hardly a novel idea.

      7. Intractable Potsherd

        Re: Drowned in space...

        I think you are referring to "The Haunted Spacesuit" by Arthur C. Clake. http://hermiene.net/short-stories/haunted_space_suit.html

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Drowned in space...

      >I sense a really good SF murder mystery

      An episode of Monk (Mr. Monk Goes To Mexico) had a student drowning during a parachute jump.

    3. David_H

      Re: Drowned in space...

      There was a case of a Cave Rescue Voulenteer drowning part way up the big pitch in Rowten Pot Yorkshire whilst on a rescue.

      RIP Dave Anderson

      And many apologies if I've misremembered any of this.

  2. hplasm Silver badge
    Happy

    “Better not to forget.”

    "Keep helmet closed when outside."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: “Better not to forget.”

      Actually, controlled and limited exposure to high vacuum is not necessarily fatal or even seriously harmful. (You could probably find plots that hinge on that in Clarke, Heinlein, and more recent writers such as Stross).

      You certainly wouldn't want uncontrolled depressurisation of your helmet, as all your most important bits are on or in your head (contrary to what some of you may think, admittedly). But limited depressurisation through a small hole, possibly ending when the hole gets plugged by ice... it's not nearly as hopeless as it sounds.

      1. moiety

        Re: “Better not to forget.”

        A controlled decompression with air shouldn't be too bad, if suitably swift. With water, though, I'd be worried about the freezing water jamming something important open.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: “Better not to forget.”

        Indeed, for example the short story "Take a Deep Breath" by Arthur C Clarke.

    2. Captain Save-a-ho
      Coat

      Re: “Better not to forget.”

      "If you hold a lungful of air you can survive in the total vacuum of space for about thirty seconds. However, what with space being the mindboggling size it is, the chances of getting picked up by another ship within those thirty seconds are 2 ^ 276709:1 against.."

      1. moiety

        Re: “Better not to forget.”

        Props for the HHGTTG reference; but in vacuum the last thing you want is a lungful of air, I believe. Not unless you want your lungs trying to exit through your nose.

        1. asdf Silver badge

          Re: “Better not to forget.”

          >Not unless you want your lungs trying to exit through your nose.

          All the really nasty stuff you read about, blood boiling, etc happens long after you have suffocated. The biggest immediate danger in space is still boring ole suffocation.

          1. moiety

            Re: “Better not to forget.”

            Yeah but. If vacuum is all around you then you want your lungs to be carrying as little pressure as possible. Taking a deep breath; holding it and then stepping out into vacuum certainly increases the risk of rupturing something valuable before you get a chance to suffocate. Whether the human body is robust enough to withstand that I honestly don't know...someone else can go first.

            Meantime, I think I'd be taking Larry Niven & Gerry Pournelle's advice from Footfall. Scream and empty your lungs. Makes sense to me. Lessen the pressure and therefore the chance of rupture; alerts everyone that assistance would be gratefully received; plus if you're floating in space there's not a lot of other proactive things you can do with your 30 seconds or whatever.

            The screaming, by the way, is a way of controlling the exhale. Could easily be wrong with this bit but I should imagine that letting your lung pressure drop below that of the pleural cavity (if that's what it's called - can't be arsed to look it up) might risk collapsed lungs. That would possibly sort itself out if you got back to pressure; but would be fairly uncomfortable in the meantime, I imagine.

          2. Vociferous

            Re: “Better not to forget.”

            You have 1 atmosphere pressure in your lungs, possibly more. In vacuum your lungs will therefore inflate to at least twice their normal, fully inflated, size, which is not something lungs are designed to withstand.

            This problem often comes up with divers. If you come up from depth holding your breath, the pressure difference can cause your lungs to rupture (note that this doesn't apply to freedivers, who fill their lungs to capacity at the surface and then their lungs compress at depth).

  3. Mr C

    in space no-one can hear you scream

    it is awesome to read how he handled that so well, and managed to remain so calm.

    I *would* like to know how this happened though, the source of the problem wasn't mentioned in his blog

    1. Evil Auditor Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: in space no-one can hear you scream

      the source of the problem wasn't mentioned in his blog

      Nah...it's too embarrassing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: in space no-one can hear you scream

        >Nah...it's too embarrassing.

        Mixed up the ends of the "pee" tube and the "air" tube?

        :O NOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooooooooo.........

    2. Steve 13

      Re: in space no-one can hear you scream

      Still under investigation, they've narrowed it down to about 3 components.

  4. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Scary

    In this age of spaceflight becoming almost routine (or at least having people living up there for extended periods) it does rather bring starkly back quite what a dangerous and unforgiving place it actually is.

    I wonder quite how many potential billionaire space tourists are now perhaps having second thoughts? Yes I know they won't generally be space-walking and such, but it does give pause for thought. And given what other articles have described about the mechanics of what happened (the way the water would basically stick to your head and flow around it to cover the entire surface) it is indeed a nightmare scenario when you could physically do nothing about it.

    I would say you have to take your hat off to the courage of these pioneers, but as noted that's rather the last thing to be done in the circumstances...

    1. Scott Pedigo
      Pint

      Re: Scary

      "... And given what other articles have described about the mechanics of what happened (the way the water would basically stick to your head and flow around it to cover the entire surface) it is indeed a nightmare scenario when you could physically do nothing about it. ..."

      Start drinking? If it flowed over your mouth, and you could suck it in and swallow it, then with the amount of water being limited, could you perhaps uncover your mouth enough to breathe?

      1. Danny Roberts 1

        Re: Scary

        I was thinking this as well but (I'm guessing) if he doesn't know where the water is coming from it may be a bad idea in case it's contaminated. The ISS itself uses ammonia among other nasties for cooling, I can't find anything that specifies the same for the suits but it may have been a consideration.

      2. Daniel B.

        He did that!

        In the first article on this subject, it is mentioned that "drinking the water" was actually one of the things he did, noting that it tasted funny (I think it was iodine in the water?) But it was just too much to drink it all away.

        Now that's courage, drinking water you don't know where it came from!

        1. Grumpy Fellow
          Pint

          Re: He did that!

          If I were designing a cooling system for a spacesuit it would circulate Beer. The alcohol could substitute for iodine as a disinfectant. Then if there was a leak there would be a positive side to the situation and no funny iodine taste. How many liters could one drink (in an emergency, of course), 3, 4, 5? All in an evening's work for most Reg readers, yes? Which brings me to a follow up question, is there currently Beer on the International Space Station? If not, why not? Also, can they smoke indoors or must they step outside? I have to say, this article has piqued my interest in space!

    2. Professor Clifton Shallot

      Re: Scary

      "In this age of spaceflight becoming almost routine ... it does rather bring starkly back quite what a dangerous and unforgiving place it actually is.

      I wonder quite how many potential billionaire space tourists are now perhaps having second thoughts?"

      It's not that much worse than being at 30-odd thousand feet and people hop on planes with barely a thought so I would guess they wouldn't be put off.

    3. Charles Manning

      Not really scary

      It is only newsworthy because of the novelty value of this being in space.Similar scary incidents happen every day on Planet Earth to scuba divers. Every day people die in various extreme sports, or even travelling to work/vacation. Yet still they come.

      There is absolutely no reason to think this event would have any impact on space tourism.

      If anything would worry space tourists, it would be the actual transport to/from the space station. About 1.5% of space shuttle flights ended in death.

  5. riCh chestMat
    Coat

    SPOILERS

    You ruined the ending of his blog by revealing that he survived the ordeal so that he could blog about it.

    1. Justin Stringfellow
      Facepalm

      Re: SPOILERS

      You dozy plonker.

      The quotes from the astronaut describing the issue in first person should have given you a clue that he survived to tell you the tale.

      Plus, this story was in the news a while back.. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23339578

      1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

        Re: SPOILERS

        @Justin Stringfellow, you need to fix your irony detector. It seems leaking.

      2. G Watty What?
        Holmes

        Re: SPOILERS

        @Justin Stringfellow

        You dozy plonker.

        It would seem "he survived the ordeal so that he could blog about it" and the "I'll get my coat" icon aren't big enough clues for you to spot a joke.

        Still the fact that you tried to educate Rich in subtle art of deduction and then went to the trouble of looking up an old news article to demonstrate vast knowledge of watery space walk stories, has given me copious laughs this morning. Bravo.

        1. Justin Stringfellow
          Coat

          Re: SPOILERS

          This icon ------>

          LOL, yep my irony detector was completely offline.

          I will indeed get my coat now.

          Sobriety is not working out for me, I'm off to buy some beer.

          1. Mephistro Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: SPOILERS (@ Justin Stringfellow 21st August 2013 09:54)

            Upvoted for recognizing your error. I wish this was more common, in these forums and everywhere.

            1. Don Jefe
              Coat

              Re: SPOILERS (@ Justin Stringfellow 21st August 2013 09:54)

              But what if you never make errors?

              1. Tim Parker

                Re: SPOILERS (@ Justin Stringfellow 21st August 2013 09:54)

                "But what if you never make errors?"

                Then, in space, you live another day.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Thumb Up

                Re: SPOILERS (@ Justin Stringfellow 21st August 2013 09:54)

                You face this quandry too?

                1. Ted Treen
                  Headmaster

                  Re: SPOILERS (@ Justin Stringfellow 21st August 2013 09:54)

                  @ Theodore:

                  How paradoxical: I think you might be facing a quandary...

              3. Evil Auditor Silver badge
                Devil

                Re: SPOILERS (@ Justin Stringfellow 21st August 2013 09:54)

                Don Jefe, get a wife. She'll teach you that no matter how right you are, she'll be righter and you made an error. In case you already have a missus and still asking that question, let her out of the basement, ffs!

              4. Martin Budden
                Trollface

                Re: SPOILERS (@ Justin Stringfellow 21st August 2013 09:54)

                But what if you never make errors?

                That only applies to Jake.

  6. Steve Button

    sublimation?

    I don't mean to be pedantic (I do actually), but isn't sublimation going the other way? From ice to gas?

    I'm sure someone will correct me.

    1. Yet Another Commentard

      Re: sublimation?

      I did think that. My thoughts were that he was saying could open a vent somewhere where the water had accumulated and the water would boil into the vacuum. Doing this would cause the water to drop in temperature, and probably freeze around the vent stopping further venting, and possibly locking the vent open. I then wondered if he meant that ice would sublime.

      Having the helmet open a little for a short time wouldn't kill him as long as he didn't try and hold his breath which could cause lung over expansion. Mind you, it's desperate times indeed to be thinking it.

      It also shows incredible presence of mind to be faced with death in several interesting ways and to think through how to deal with it. Having had a near underwater panic attack when (in training) someone turned off my air cylinder in space, alone, it would be on the next level (or ten).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: sublimation?

        "It also shows incredible presence of mind to be faced with death in several interesting ways and to think through how to deal with it."

        There are a few people with that kind of psychological make-up - and no doubt it can be greatly enhanced by training and experience. No one else should even be considered for jobs such as jet fighter pilot, submariner, and above all astronaut. If in doubt, watch "Apollo 13" again and marvel that those guys stayed sane, let alone lived to tell the tale.

      2. Charles Manning

        He was documenting his thinking.

        It seems he was documenting his thinking, rather than doing an objective post-event analysis.

        You can forgive a person, even a physics PhD, for not pondering the finer points of phase change while he's <echo>DROWING IN SPAAAACCEE</echo>.

        Sublimation or not, the net result would be the same: the latent heat loss would quickly cause ice formation which could make for a bad day.

        1. Don Jefe
          Joke

          Re: He was documenting his thinking.

          He just read the wrong line of the script. The sublimation escape is in scene #113.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: sublimation?

      Yes it is.

      I imagine the water that is vented to space sublimates at such a low pressure, with the 'hole' blocked by ice once the pressure difference is low enough.

    3. Getriebe

      Re: sublimation?

      I thought sublimation was going from one phase to another without going through the intermediary phase

      ie from plasma to liquid.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: sublimation?

        Yes indeed, or solid to gas. I'm not sure it's appropriate for the simultaneous boiling and freezing which occurs when water is released into a vacuum either. I believe that in a sudden complete loss of pressure the effect is rather violent: much like the mass nucleation that occurs when you open a vigorously shaken bottle of pop. The energy carried away by the vaporising molecules reducing the temperature of the remaining H2O, just as an aerosol can cools as you use it. Water can't exist in a vacuum - only ice or free H2O molecules - molecules with sufficient energy to escape the crystal state are liberated, so all that's left by the sudden "boil" is ice. Not something one would choose to experience around one's head really.

        I'm not sure English has a word for the process. Might I propose friel* as an appropriate portmanteau?

        * http://www.esquire.com/cm/esquire/images/AnnaFriel.jpg

        1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          Re: sublimation?

          English already has words for changes between the most common states of matter:

          Solid to liquid - melting

          Liquid to solid - freezing

          Liquid to gas - evaporation or boiling

          Gas to liquid - condensing

          Sold to gas - sublimation

          Gas to solid - deposition

          Gas to plasma - ionization

          Plasma to gas - deionization

          What I do not know is what changes (e.g. Bose–Einstein condensate) to and from other states are called.

        2. Michael Thibault
          Coat

          Re: sublimation?

          * http://www.esquire.com/cm/esquire/images/AnnaFriel.jpg

          Best argument I've seen for carrying a role of gaffer's tape everywhere I go.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: sublimation?

      Something to do with saying "I sublime" three times and stepping forwards. I think.

  7. ToggleMaudlin

    Brave bloke

    Pretty inspiring to read about how calm and reasoned he was the entire way through the ordeal.

    Had it been me up there, the water in the helmet would *not* have been the only fluid in the spacesuit.

  8. Paul Naylor

    Whataguy!

    I think only this can sum this story up...

    http://tellyathon.co.uk/2006/08/12/what-a-guy/

  9. Crisp Silver badge

    I was playing Kerbal Space Program with my son...

    And we tried recreating one of the Apollo missions. While we were building testing, (then rebuilding and testing again) and finally flying our rocket, we talked about the real life missions and all the training astronauts had to go through to not only get to the moon but to deal with almost every conceivable thing that they could think of that could possibly go wrong.

    It's hard enough when the expected occurs. When the unexpected occurs, it's ingenuity and bravery like Luca Parmitanos that saves the day.

  10. Bod

    There's a film in that

    Quick, bang out a film based on it, pad it out to 3 hours, in 3D.

    Still would be more interesting than just recycling every film made in the last 10 years due to lack of imagination. Though they'd then have another film to remake in a couple of years.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There's a film in that

      For Hollywood, this would only rank as a minor incident during a long laser powered arc of action starring a maverick, misunderstood outsider who uses unorthodox means to get what he wants while wearing an oil stained torn T-shirt who coincidentally has a ripped upper body and an unshaven face. Meanwhile his friends who don't approve of his drinking habit, but love him deep down, come to realise that only. this. one. man, can save the world. So they recruit a school of frickin' laser space sharks, who take pity on him, and start to suck all the water from his helmet. But as his O2 level counts down (close-up on) 5...4...3...2.. a micro-meteorite hits the sharks, who explode in fire ball, the hero dies and the President names a school after him.

      etc.

      1. Steve Knox Silver badge

        Re: There's a film in that

        No, the hero almost never dies in Hollywood movies. It ruins the chance for them to make even worse sequels.

    2. DropBear Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: There's a film in that

      There's already a movie for that. If they hurry up, they might still squeeze this into "Gravity"...

  11. nevstah

    water? or fluid?

    that'll teach him to wee in his suit!!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ether

    If he was drowning in ether, I could understand it.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You know, I only have absolute respect for these people who go into space and the boffins who get them there. It's a very hostile environment and its a monumental achievement by man (and women!!)

    1. Aqua Marina Silver badge

      Is it a very hostile environment???

      ... or is it a non-existant one?

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Sortie" ?

    Who was he attacking?

  16. paulc

    Bit of an understatement...

    “The unexpected sensation of water at the back of my neck surprises me – and I’m in a place where I’d rather not be surprised.”

    understatement of the century?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You are having a bad problem and will not come back from space today.

  18. CCCP
    Coat

    Frank Doberman character on Armstrong...

    Was I the only one thinking of Harry Enfield's angry character?

    "...I would say, Oi, Armstrong, no. That is not a space suit. If you want the toilet you raise your hand..."

    I was the only one. Oh well, getting my coat.

    1. Sorry, "Sorry that handle is already taken" is already taken.
      Coat

      Re: Frank Doberman character on Armstrong...

      "It's a NICE suit, but not a SPACE suit!

      It does NOT contain an intricate system of tubing for the collection of bodily waste!" :-D

      From memory, so probably not accurate. :-D

    2. John 62

      Re: Frank Doberman character on Armstrong...

      "Only me!

      "You, don't wanna do it like tha-at.

      "You don't wanna drink the water away! That gets it too close to your nose and you could breathe it in! An' drown!

      "No, you wanna take yer 'elmet right off! Let the water escape and put yer 'elmet back on again!

      "'Ere! I'll help!"

    3. John 62

      Re: Frank Doberman character on Armstrong...

      Parmitano: "Come in-a Wayne! Come in ISS control! Come in! Someone-a help-a me! Issa water in-a my 'elmet! I'm-a drowning"

      Wayne at ISS Control: "Shaddap! I am 'aving a faaaag!"

  19. Dave Ross

    I want to see this as an option/scenario in KSP!

  20. Irony Deficient

    units

    Parmitano uses psi, cm, and lb in his account — in both the English and Italian versions. Are psi and lb commonly used by the ESA?

  21. DropBear Silver badge

    Oh, the humanity!

    It's exceedingly clear that following this nearly-terrible-tragedy the entire ISS simply MUST be de-orbited and any and all space-related activities ceased for at least the next TWO DECADES (or until even the bureaucrats have forgotten why we aren't up there, whichever takes longer). I mean, isn't that how NASA generally handles any problem...?

  22. Martin Huizing

    Can you imagine what evolutionary hurdles we, as humans, had to overcome to be able to survive in such a harsh environment such as space? Took us millions of years to get to the point where bi-pedism became the main factor of enabling our brain to grow exponentially. We have only just grasped the concept of stepping out of our comfort zone and explore potentially lethal environments just for the sake of exploration.

    Hats off to these pioneers! Please, please make peeing in space more safe for us mere humans.

  23. Andus McCoatover
    Windows

    US 'nauts are ok...

    As the Sydney Morning Herald reports:

    NASA has suspended all US spacewalks* until the problem is resolved.

    So, anyone else with a funny accent is OK then.

    Righty-oh.

    *Is there any other kind, at the moment?

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/technology/sci-tech/drowning-in-space-astronaut-tells-of-spacewalk-terror-20130821-2sad0.html#ixzz2cigksQA8

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