Reuters reports on an innovative response to a space helmet malfunction:
U.S. spacewalks have been suspended since July after a spacesuit helmet worn by Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano filled with water, causing him to nearly drown.
The underlying cause of the leak remains under investigation but engineers have learned enough to make modifications so the problem will not happen again, NASA managers told reporters during a conference call.
As a contingency, the spacewalkers’ helmets will be outfitted with absorbent pads and home-made snorkels to funnel air from the body of the water-cooled suits into an astronaut’s mouth, if needed.
The snorkels, which were fabricated by the crew on Sunday, are made from plastic water line vent tubes used in the spacesuits.