Spacewalkers collect experiment, toss flash drive overboard

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Spacewalking Russians gathered seeds and spores that have been stuck outside the International Space Station for months if not years and gave a ceremonial send-off Wednesday to a flash drive containing special messages for their motherland.

See Full Article

Cosmonaut Sergey Volkov waited for good camera views before tossing the flash drive overboard as the space station sailed 250 miles (402 kilometres) above the Pacific. The blue, cloud-specked Earth provided a stunning backdrop.

The flash drive includes videos and messages pertaining to the 70th anniversary of Russia's Victory Day last year. It was attached to a small bundle stuffed with towels to provide some bulk.

"There it goes," Volkov said in Russian as he let go of the package with his right gloved hand. "Just beautiful," he noted as it spun slowly, appearing to tumble toward Earth. Spacewalking partner Yuri Malenchenko floated nearby.

"That's perfect guys," Russian Mission Control radioed from outside Moscow.

The job was added just a few days ago. NASA said the jettisoned package would pose no hazard to the orbiting lab. Flight controllers expect the bundle to harmlessly re-enter the atmosphere in a few weeks.

With that accomplished, the spacewalkers set off to retrieve research equipment that has been outdoors since 2009. The trays include plant seeds as well as spores from fungi and bacteria; the specimens typically were replenished every year or two and returned to Earth for analysis. The cosmonauts set out fresh experiments elsewhere on the space station, then found themselves fussing over a dispenser in a surface- coating experiment.

The roll of tapelike film in the dispenser kept jamming, frustrating Malenchenko and Volkov as they tried to coat an outdoor sample board. Only one attempt appeared to succeed.

"It glued on so nicely. It's like a perfect sticker," one of the spacewalkers reported. "Are we done?" They weren't, but Russian Mission Control advised them a few minutes later to wrap it up and head back in.

The spacewalk lasted nearly five hours.

NASA, meanwhile, is still trying to understand why water leaked into a U.S. astronaut's helmet last month.

The Jan. 15 spacewalk had to be cut short because of the problem, a repeat of what happened to an Italian spacewalker in 2013. That first incident was considerably more serious, involving much more leakage.

The Russians use different types of suits, which functioned well Wednesday. As for U.S. spacewalks, astronauts will go out only in an emergency until the leakage is understood and corrected, according to NASA.

Six men currently live at the space station: three Russians, two Americans and one Briton.



Advertisements

Latest Tech & Science News

  • Amazon urged not to sell face-recognition tool to police

    Tech & Science CBC News
    The American Civil Liberties Union and other privacy activists are asking Amazon to stop marketing a powerful facial recognition tool to police, saying law enforcement agencies could use the technology to "easily build a system to automate the identification and tracking of anyone. Source
  • Russia's 1st sea-borne nuclear power plant arrives in the Arctic

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Russia's first floating nuclear power plant arrived in the Arctic port of Murmansk over the weekend in preparation for its maiden mission: providing electricity to an isolated Russian town across the Bering Strait from Alaska. The state company behind the plant, called the Akademik Lomonosov, says it could pioneer a new power source for remote regions of the planet, but green campaigners have expressed concern about the risk of nuclear accidents. Source
  • Black bear kills dog that jumped out car window in Jasper National Park

    Tech & Science CTV News
    JASPER, Alta. -- A black bear is being watched in Jasper National Park after it killed a dog that jumped out of a vehicle. Parks Canada officials say the encounter happened on Wednesday when a car pulled over to the side of the road to view the bear and the dog jumped out of an open window. Source
  • ACLU: Amazon shouldn't sell face-recognition tech to police

    Tech & Science CTV News
    SEATTLE -- The American Civil Liberties Union and other privacy activists are asking Amazon to stop marketing a powerful facial recognition tool to police, saying law enforcement agencies could use the technology to "easily build a system to automate the identification and tracking of anyone. Source
  • Siri winning battle of the virtual assistants in Canada: poll

    Tech & Science CTV News
    TORONTO -- In the heated battle between Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft to get consumers hooked on their virtual assistants, Siri seems to be enjoying the first-mover advantage. Just shy of 40 per cent of Canadian adults recently used a virtual assistant, according to a report by the Media Technology Monitor, which polled almost 8,200 Canadians by phone late last year. Source
  • Hawaii volcano generates toxic gas plume called laze

    Tech & Science CTV News
    PAHOA, Hawaii -- The eruption of Kilauea volcano in Hawaii sparked new safety warnings about toxic gas on the Big Island's southern coastline after lava began flowing into the ocean and setting off a chemical reaction. Source
  • Wolves adjust sleeping habits to avoid human contact, research suggests

    Tech & Science CBC News
    New research has found some carnivores in Kananaskis Country have altered their behaviour in response to the presence of humans. The results come from a University of Victoria master's student, who studied data from motion-triggered cameras in Kananaskis and the more remote Willmore Wilderness Park north of Jasper. Source
  • EU lawmakers to press Zuckerberg over data privacy

    Tech & Science CTV News
    BRUSSELS -- European Union lawmakers plan to press Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday about data protection standards at the internet giant at a hearing focused on a scandal over the alleged misuse of the personal information of millions of people. Source
  • Rare tiger cub dies at N.B. zoo after being born with health issues

    Tech & Science CTV News
    MONCTON, N.B. -- A rare tiger cub has died at the Magnetic Hill Zoo more than a week after being born with three siblings at the New Brunswick facility. The zoo announced in a Facebook post that the young tiger died on Sunday despite efforts by her mother, Anya, and a veterinarian to help her survive. Source
  • Experts release new details about 300-year-old shipwreck discovered near Colombia

    Tech & Science CTV News
    BOSTON - A Spanish galleon laden with gold that sank to the bottom of the Caribbean off the coast of Colombia more than 300 years ago was found three years ago with the help of an underwater autonomous vehicle operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the agency disclosed for the first time. Source