"My eyes are closed as I listen to Chris counting down the atmospheric pressure inside the airlock -- it's close to zero now. I feel fully charged, as if electricity and not blood were running through my veins."
That's how Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano began his blog post yesterday.
Parmitano is a member of the team aboard the International Space Station. The post is a description of Parmitano's July sixteenth space walk. He and colleague Christopher Cassidy were supposed to be attaching cables to the outside of the station. If you didn't hear the news that day, there were some complications.
Yesterday's post allows us to imagine those complications from Parmitano's perspective, weightless, hurling through a vacuum at 27,000 kilometres per hour.
He describes how everything goes well until the end of the first hour. We pick it up there:
"I'm thinking about how to uncoil the cable neatly. It is moving around like a thing possessed in the weightlessness. At this exact moment, I 'feel' that there is something wrong. The unexpected sensation of water at the back of my neck surprises me. I'm in a place where I'd rather not be surprised.
Chris moves towards me to see if he can see anything.
At first, we're both convinced that it must be drinking water that has leaked through the straw, or else it's sweat. But I think the liquid is too cold to be sweat, and more importantly, I can feel it increasing."
They can't figure out where the water was coming from. But, ground control terminates the spacewalk. Parmitano is directed to return to safety, if he can.
"As I move back along my route towards the airlock, I become more and more certain that the water is increasing.
The water has also almost completely covered the front of my visor, sticking to it and obscuring my vision.
I realise that to get over one of the antennae on my route I will have to move my body into a vertical position. As I turn 'upside-down', two things happen: the Sun sets, and my ability to see - already compromised by the water - completely vanishes. Worse than that, the water covers my nose.
By now, the upper part of the helmet is full of water. I can't even be sure that the next time I breathe I will fill my lungs with air and not liquid. To make matters worse, I realise that I can't even understand which direction I should head in to get back to the airlock. I can't see more than a few centimetres in front of me."
Mr. Parmitano's adventure doesn't end there. Unfortunately we're going to leave you with that cliff-hanger since we don't have the time to read all the chilling details in his blog post. For the full version check us out on Facebook or online at www.cbc.ca/aih.