Tears in Zero G

After the space shuttle Columbia burned up in the atmosphere, all media was focused on the loss. We barely heard about the three astronauts stranded on the International Space Station, who not only lost seven close friends in the disaster, but also their ride home.

… without gravity, your tears don’t fall, so these great shimmering pools of water filled his eyes and he’d have to knock them away and his tears are all around him in the weightlessness … and then immediately thereafter they begin to realize, “Well, I guess we’ve lost our ride home.”

Facing the prospect of spending two years aboard the station, they ultimately went home aboard a 40-year-old Russian Soyuz pod, which was strapped to the outside of the ISS like a lifeboat. After a harrowing voyage in which rockets misfired by half a second, throwing them hundreds of miles off course, they landed in the deep tundra of Kazhakstan (home of Borat!). Presumed dead and lost by the rest of humanity, they had hours to meditate and rejoice in the green grass of planet earth before being discovered.

The fascinating story is told by Christopher Jones, NASA’s Director for Solar System Exploration, to Moira Gunn for Tech Nation. The bit about levitating tears is about 10’30” in.

Music: Momus :: Mai Noda

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