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Tech journalist since the dark ages. Windows Secrets, LangaList newsletter, Windows Magazine (NetGuide, Home PC), Byte, Popular Computing, yadda yadda yadda. Google me, if it matters.

This feed is mostly personal interest; it's NOT my professional writing. There's tech here, yes, but also lots of general science and some politics and weird humor thrown in.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

NASA's still pretty good at extemporaneous hardware hacking.

The US space suits used on the ISS have a thermal-regulation system that runs heated/cooled liquid through small tubes.

In July, a suit leaked its heating/cooling fluid into the helmet of European astronaut Luca Parmitano, nearly drowning him. (Yes: Drowning in space. Bizarre, eh?)

The suit hasn't been fully repaired yet because they're still trying to figure out what caused the leak. But the astronauts have to use the same suit next week, in emergency space walks to fix a problem with an ISS cooling pump.

So: NASA literally hacked some spare parts to create a snorkel, inside the helmet, that can supply air to an astronaut in the event that another leak happens.

The spirit of the Apollo 13 hacks lives on. :)