Stranded In Space

Ian O’Neill at Universe today reports on astronaut Mike Kelly’s concern that a person could get stranded in the center of the ISS’s new Kibo module. Interior space is thirty-seven by fourteen. An inattentive astronaut might drift slowly to the middle of the room and get stuck with no gravity or handholds to get back.

The UT commentariat is full of ideas on how to rescue yourself.

Before paging over there to see some of the clever ones, anybody want to take a guess here?

(Image from NASA TV)

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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4 Responses to Stranded In Space

  1. Daniel says:

    Without any knowledge of such things would it be possible to expel air like blowing out a candle to provide some propulsion?

  2. Gavin says:

    I would probably flap my arms or “expel air”. I also question the likelihood of anyone really being stranded there; I don’t see anyone being able to come to a 100% full stop due to air resistance alone. Besides, there’s always mircogravity.

  3. Todd says:

    Daniel’s suggestion came to mind for me, as it did for at least one UT commenter. It should be possible to “swim,” but in a larger space, it could be slow progress.

    More amusing would be Robert Heinlein’s fictional solution: doff one’s space overalls and hurl them in the opposite direction of the way one wants to go.

  4. Claude Muncey says:

    I would suggest something along the same lines, Todd. Take off you shoes, and throw them, one at a time, to get moving in the desired direction. It would be slow, but you really don’t have far to go.

    Another answer would be to have a good fan, something like a Vornado, set up that would push stranded astronauts, along with anything else drifing about, to a selected end of the module. In fact, I would wonder if the air circulation system in Kibo would have the same effect.

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