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Iain's Spacesuit Diary Day 1 2 3

Day Two

One of the great things about Rough Science is how everyone just mucks in when there’s work to be done. Kate and I had come back with a pile of zeolite the previous evening, but this morning there were more mundane problems to solve. Trying to get a decent vacuum on the cooking pots was proving a pain – the metal tins kept imploding. What was needed was some basic wooden bracing to put inside them and give internal support, so armed with a saw, some nails and the trusty hammer I did my best. The results might not have people taking orders for shelves, but it did the job.

On the whole, day 2 was one of those grinding days that is so common in science but which is a million miles from the public face of scientists ‘in action’. We just all grafted away at our various chores, tweaking things here and there, modifying the design, testing this and that, going up ladders and down snakes trying to get the different parts of the cooling, circulation and pumping system to work. For most of the day I was pulverising and cooking up my zeolite, trying to make sure that I drove off all the moisture that over many years had accumulated in its crystal structure. There’s only so much fun you can have cooking zeolite.

So, it wasn’t that much of a surprise then when the boredom set in and the mind wandered onto more trivial matters. By mid-afternoon, a wee knock-about baseball game was in full flight – the various parts of the space system left scattered around us. At first the camera crew filmed from the sidelines, but of course that didn’t last. Sound booms and cameras were laid aside and the serious baseball started. It was great fun, even when, after diving in the dirt gloriously failing to catch the ball, I was left bruised and grazed. It ended 20 minutes later, our consciences tugged by our series producer Jonathan pacing the outfield like an expectant father, anxious to see car windows unscathed and a refrigeration system that actually cooled something. To put his mind at rest, we set everything up for our first full test. It failed.

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Air conditioning can keep a car cool - but how do you air condition a spacesuit?
Scientist Diaries

How did the rest of the Rough Scientists approach the spacesuit task? Find out in their diaries: