Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Where Do Tears In Zero-G Go?

Nowhere! They just stay in front of your eyes!

That's what happened to astronaut Andrew Feustel during a space walk when his eyes got stung by something and started to water.

NASA's lead spacewalk officer in Mission Control, Allison Bolinger, later identified the irritant as an anti-fogging solution that had been applied to the inside of Feustel's helmet. It's essentially off-the-shelf dishwashing soap and occasionally flakes off, if not buffed properly, and can get in a spacewalker's eye.

Feustel managed to rub his eye against a foam block in his helmet — normally used for clearing ears — and said that helped. The spacewalkers noted that tears in space "don't fall off of your eye ... they kind of stay there."

Yup! Another property of gravity that we take for granted.



DougRobertson said...

Scuba divers could have told him that baby shampoo is just as effective as dishwater detergent for anti-fogging, and is formulated so that it does not irritate the eyes. Divers have a number of eye-safe defoggers, most of which are the same as baby shampoo.

E said...

I got excited when I read "tears" as the ones meaning rips... and thought one got into an astronaut's eye... that's some real sci-fi horror stuff