We’ve all had that sinking feeling when we leave our house for a trip or for work. Do I have everything? Did I shut the garage door? Did I pack enough undies and socks?
I do it constantly. Especially when we backpack, since we try to pack so minimally for weight and space.
I’ve never, however, had to ask myself if I packed the right spacesuit. But a couple of NASA astronauts are experiencing an extraordinary version of an everyday, terrestrial problem.
The outfit they have just doesn’t fit.
I mean, the cruelty of the timing. They can’t run to Target for the right size. They can’t zip a package to Stitch Fix and swap out for the right size. They just have to deal, and scrap what would have been an historic all-female spacewalk.
And it’s all because a lack of gravity is screwing with how things fit.
So at least the rest of us, who are grounded on Earth and not orbiting the planet on the International Space Station, don’t have that interference to deal with while getting dressed. Our bodies will be predictably the same, whether we’re happy with it or not, from one day to the next – barring any wild illness or accident.
Not so in space.
NASA spent the afternoon explaining the complexity of galactic fashion, saying that the absence of gravity changes the shape of an astronaut’s body, elongating the spine and sloshing fluids around in ways we never experience on Earth. So, the suits they had on the ISS for the spacewalk, just didn’t fit the way they thought they would when they trained on the ground.
Still, at its most basic level, I’d hate to have to come back to Earth knowing I missed a moment in history because I didn’t pack the right thing. Or whoever packs didn’t pack me the right thing. Or however that works.
It’s a problem I’ll never know, but can relate to. So, I’ve officially got something in common with an astronaut who is in space right this minute. I’d think most of us do.