Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS

NOVA Online (click here for NOVA home)
Stationed in the Stars
Inside a spacesuit:
Mike Gernhardt

Back to Astronauts in Hard Hats

"If we got a small hole [in our spacesuit], our oxygen would start coming out of the spacesuit, and the pressure would start to drop. If the pressure drops too far, then you'll get the bends, and if it drops below about 2.5 psi, then you don't have enough oxygen to maintain useful consciousness.

"Now, we have a device called the Secondary Oxygen Pack on the back of our backpack, and it's got a whole lot of oxygen in it, and it would be able to support a small leak for—depends on how small it is—but for at least 30 minutes. So for a small leak, we'd have our secondary-oxygen system kick in, and we'd be heading back to the airlock and repressurizing, and we'd be fine. A big leak—like a big hole in the suit, say a half-inch hole or something like that, or if your glove blew off—would pretty much be a real bad day for you."



Blueprint for a Space Station | Astronauts in Hard Hats
Inspired by Science Fiction | Free-Falling | Resources
Transcript | Site Map | Stationed in the Stars Home

Editor's Picks | Previous Sites | Join Us/E-mail | TV/Web Schedule
About NOVA | Teachers | Site Map | Shop | Jobs | Search | To print
PBS Online | NOVA Online | WGBH

© | Updated November 2000

Support provided by

For new content
visit the redesigned
NOVA site