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  Spacewalks and Zip GunsJan 26, 2013 4:30 AM PST | url
Added 1 new A* page:At first I had a nice dramatic white dust cloud penciled in across parts of the background behind the Major here, to sort of break things up and add some contrast. But then I got to thinking about it and remembered that in the near vacuum you'd have at the surface of this planetoid, there'd be nothing for the dust the lander kicked up to swirl against, so instead of forming a nice picturesque cloud, it would just rise up and fall back to the surface in a more or less perfect (-ly boring :p) parabolic arc. You can see that in action for real on the Moon in for instance this video of two of the Apollo 16 astronauts kicking up a heck of a lot of Moon dust as they hot rod it around in their rover back in '72--no exciting hovering dust clouds result ;_;.
While I was finding that I also noticed the same uploader has another nifty high-definition-remastered-from-the-original-16-mm clip of the very first American spacewalk (the Soviets beat us to it earlier in the year): astronaut Ed White maneuvering around with a hand-held "zip gun" propulsion unit during the 1965 Gemini 4 mission, filmed by his co-astronaut (uh there's probably a better word for that :p) James McDivitt. The brief footage is here. White cruised around out there for about 20 minutes before they made him go back inside.
It's interesting to read in that Gemini 4 Wikipedia article I just linked there about the various technical problems encountered in that endeavor, such as the latch on the capsule's hatch failing to close both times they had to open it--a problem with a spring that they were able to work around--and communication channel problems that kept them out of contact with mission ground controller (called the "CAPCOM" for "capsule communicator") Gus Grissom (already the first astronaut to be in space twice--Mercury-Redstone 4 and Gemini 3--Grissom was no stranger to technical problems during missions, and, along with White and another astronaut, pilot Roger Chaffee, would tragically perish in the Apollo 1 capsule fire in 1967) for about 40 seconds, because McDivitt, in the capsule, could only talk to either White or Grissom at once, not both, and White could only hear McDivitt.
Also, a thruster failure during the landing approach made the landing rougher than anticipated--although neither astronaut was injured--and before that, the on-board computer, made by IBM, had "failed on the 48th revolution. This was unfortunate for IBM which had just put an advertisement in the Wall Street Journal saying that its computers were so reliable that even NASA used them."
Here's White on his spacewalk, zip gun in hand:
image by NASA / James McDivitt (source)
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