TODAY   |  December 21, 2013

How do spacewalkers handle emergencies? A NASA astronaut explains

“Water does strange things in zero gravity,” said Steve Robinson, who has logged 48 days in space. Water has the potential to cause real emergencies, and astronauts are prepared with both high-tech and low-tech fixes in case something goes wrong.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> he spent 48 days in space and did space walk missions himself and steve is joining us now. no problem with the suits or water leaking last time around last july. that was an issue there. does everything seem to be operating as it should?

>> just about. a couple of little problems with the equipment. starting out, rick had a little problem getting the fitting that you put your feet on the robot arm . things tend to get stuck in space so things were sticky a little bit. rick is a very experienced guy and got it fixed with no problem.

>> let's face it. we are keeping a closer eye on this for a lot of reasons. one, the last time a space walk , the restaurant almost drowned. his helmet started filling up with walk. tom walked us through they have put these precautions. you have some props here you've brought along and maybe you can explain what they have done to alleviate this possibility.

>> let me talk about nasa's about coming back from a problem. the highest task is taken to publish accomplish and if things are not going right, they want lowest technology as possible. they developed an absorbent pad up i didn't understand the head. the oxygen in the helmet comes behind your head and if water gets mixed up with the oxygen --

>> the water is part of the cooling in the suit?

>> it is.

>> obviously one sheet isn't going to be enough to absorb a lot of water. they have a lot that with absorb absorb?

>> i think they can absorb between 20 and 25 ounces.

>> gout a water bottle there?

>> about this much.

>> that is a lot of water.

>> that is a lot of water. about -- there is about four times this much inside this space suit so there could be a lot of water. if water does become a problem for breathing, you know it's just floating around in blobs. water does strange things in zero gravity . this is kind after snorkel. it's right next to your drink tube and it goes down to your waist so you actually have access to oxygen in the suit that it probably isn't going to incur with the water.

>> sounds good but i think of panic.

>> glike a mcgyver situation there.

>> steve, stick around and we will rely on you as we watch this play out live.

>> you bet.