NASA has decided that a series of astronaut spacewalks is necessary to make repairs to the International Space Station. On Tuesday, station managers decided to send two American astronauts to fix a broken cooling line as soon as possible, the Associated Press reports. In what the AP describes as a major job for the astronauts, the repairs will require three spacewalks on Saturday, Monday and Christmas Day.
Last week the station’s cooling system malfunctioned and half of the system was shut down, forcing the crew to shut down all nonessential equipment. The move was designed to take the pressure off the cooling system, which is used to dispel heat that’s generated by equipment onboard. NASA’s decision to send the astronauts on spacewalks, USA Today reports, “came after efforts to regulate temperatures in one of the station's two external loops apparently were unsuccessful.”
"It's a serious problem, obviously," American astronaut Rick Mastracchio said in an interview with SPACE.com on Friday. "It's something we have to fix. It's not something I'm worried about though." The spacewalks will be the first since they were suspended for American astronauts in July following a scare where an Italian astronaut nearly drowned when his spacesuit started leaking causing his helmet to fill with water while outside the station.
TODAY IN SLATE
The Ebola Story
How our minds build narratives out of disaster.
The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola
PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer
The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics
A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers
Welcome to 13th Grade!
Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.
The Actual World
“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.