— An astronaut totally lost his mirror while performing a space station spacewalk.
— The mirror became detached shortly after the spacewalk began, and it was lost to the vacuum of space.
— The mirror’s fate is unknown, but it’ll likely tumble toward Earth and be destroyed when it hits the atmosphere.
Spacewalking astronauts have plenty to worry about. Walking around in the vacuum of space with only their spacesuits as protection would be enough to raise anyone’s blood pressure, not to mention the work they have to conduct in zero gravity as they cruise high above the Earth. Needless to say, things can be a bit unpredictable, and that was the case today during a spacewalk conducted by astronauts Chris Cassidy and Robert Behnken.
During the excursion, Cassidy lost a tool that is useful for astronauts: a mirror that was attached to his left wrist. Astronauts use these mirrors because visibility from within a spacesuit helmet isn’t great, and it helps them see angles that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.
The incident happened just as the spacewalk was beginning. As CNN reports, the mirror became loose just after Cassidy was departing the hatch. Anywhere on Earth, the mirror would have dropped to the ground and would have been easily retrieved (or possibly even broken), but that’s not how things go in space. Instead, Cassidy’s mirror made a break for it, tumbling into space where it will never be seen again.
The bad news is that the mirror is gone, but the good news is that it isn’t believed to pose a risk to the space station or any future spacewalks.