I’m sorry Dave, I can’t let you do that. No, I mean, like, seriously dude, you really shouldn’t do that

Oh man. There are only two guys aboard the International Space Station, and on Monday they will be going on a space walk simultaneously. So the Station — a leaky Edsel in bad need of servicing — will be screaming through the howling aether on autopilot, while these poor saps bounce around outside and pray to god nothing breaks.

This sounds completely deranged to me, but apparently the Russians talked NASA into it. According to today’s New York Times:

At first, some NASA officials were uneasy about leaving the station unmanned for spacewalks, but Russia said the walk to be done this week was necessary to maintain some outside scientific experiments and to examine the exterior of the station. Russian officials also noted that they had made 50 spacewalks from their previous space station, Mir, with no one left inside.

I have to admit, I’m impressed. They did 50 spacewalks while Mir — which was basically an empty can of Lysol with retrorockets — flew unmanned? Say whatever you want about Russia, but their scientists have nerves of steel. How the hell did the U.S. win the cold war, anyway?

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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