Sky's Up Summer 2016 - Page 18

7 8 Astronauts Story Musgrave, left, and Don Peterson float in the cargo bay of the Earth-orbiting space shuttle Challenger during their April 7, 1983, spacewalk on the STS-6 mission. 6 18 9 COURTESY OF NASA What does it feel like in a spacesuit? You always work the ergonomics of how you’re going to get stuff done. That’s why you’re in the suit in the first place. You’re in the suit to get something done out there. People do understand it’s bulky. They do understand there’s a lot between you and what you’re going to touch, what you’re going to move. But they don’t understand, it doesn’t have your body. It doesn’t have a shoulder joint. A shoulder joint is ball and socket, so a shoulder joint you can move 360 degrees any direction any time. That’s not true in a suit because a suit doesn’t have a shoulder joint. You do, but it doesn’t. The position of the joints and the movement of the joints — it doesn’t have the same body so you’ve got to get used to a different body. Here I’m eating, I reach for my fork, I don’t have to think about is my hand going to get to my fork. I know all the forces I’ve got to put and which muscles. It’s thoughtless. That’s not true in a spacesuit. You’ll miss by a foot. You can’t put in the normal things it takes. You can’t touch your nose. You have to study how you’re going to do that, because you’ll miss. It’s also very bulky. People know about that one. Another thing is, of course, you’re working in a freefall condition. Everything is moving around. You do have mass. You may not have weight, you may not have force between you and some object, like the big spaceship or shuttle you’re in or something like that but you do have mass. My mass is 480 pounds. That’s me and my backpack. My backpack is 280 pounds by itself. But you add it all up and you’ve got 480 pounds. So you want to move somewhere, you’ve got to get 480 pounds going, you’ve got to get it stopped. So you can just think about that. If you think you’re going to move around like a ni