NASA has suspended all spacewalks while solving an alarming problem with the spacesuits aboard the International Space Station.
The agency said on Tuesday that helmets worn by astronauts have filled with water multiple times in recent months.
It has put personnel in potentially life-threatening scenarios while clinging to the outside of the station 250 miles above ground.
According to CBS, Nasa is investigating what led to excessive water accumulation in an astronaut’s helmet during a field trip in March.
Officials told reporters that the space suits — “Extra-Vehicular Mobility Units,” or EMUs — remain available for emergencies.
“Until we better understand what the causal factors may have been during the last EVA with our EMU, we are no-go no-go [extra-vehicular activity]’ said NASA’s Dana Weigel.
“As such, we will not conduct a planned EVA until we have had an opportunity to address and rule out serious system failure modes.”
A number of astronauts over the years have endured the horrific ordeal of a helmet filled with water.
In 2013, a spacewalk had to be canceled after European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano nearly drowned.
A Nasa report detailing the incident says Parmitano was faced with “water-covered eyes, nose and ears.”
Since then, Nasa has incorporated small sponges into their EMU helmets to absorb excess moisture.
While the Parmitano incident has yet to repeat itself, German astronaut Matthias Maurer’s helmet filled with water during a spacewalk in March.
“About a circle 8 to 10 inches in diameter, a thin film of water on the helmet,” said NASA astronaut Kayla Barron, who discovered the cluster at the time.
“And there’s water in his vent at the back of his neck ring.”
Maurer’s suit will return to Earth on a SpaceX cargo ship, which is scheduled to return in July.
Investigators will then examine the suit to determine what is causing the problem. Until then, all future spacewalks are suspended.
Fortunately, officials have “not found anything unusual” so far, according to Weigel.
“We’re looking for any obvious signs of contamination or fouling or anything else that may have entered our system.”
“We don’t see that yet,” she added.
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/8820555/nasa-cancels-spacewalks-iss-astronauts-helmet-water/ Panicked Nasa cancels spacewalks after ISS astronaut’s helmet ‘fills with WATER’