Space walking, or extravehicular activity (EVA) as its more accurately known – since you can’t actually walk in space – is the ultimate experience for any mere mortal dreaming of life as an astronaut. To have that cinematic moment in the vacuum: silent, peaceful, the skin of your fingers burning off … wait, what?
Yeah. It’s not as easy as it looks.
“Spacewalking is like rock climbing, weight lifting, repairing a small engine, and performing an intricate pas-de-deux simultaneously. All while encased in a bulky suit that’s scraping your knuckles, fingers, and collarbone raw,” explains astronaut and viral YouTuber Chris Hadfield. “In zero gravity, just turning a bolt can feel like trying to change a tire while wearing ice skates and goalie mitts. Visually, though, it’s everything. The world … it’s just there. It’s pouring by at eight kilometers per second in all its kaleidoscopic, unbidden glory. And the universe is right there. Everything – forever – is right there behind you and you’re holding on by one hand in the middle.”
It’s an experience only known by a select few, but thanks to a bit of help from GoPro and NASA, that’s all about to change. During his recent hour-long EVA, NASA astronaut Terry Virts (seriously, go follow him) strapped a camera to his space suit as he worked to adapt the ISS docking station for use with a new generation of commercial spacecraft. From watching the earth pass by in the darkness, to fumbling down to the underbelly of the space station, we’re along for the entire, crazy ride.
Not enough space walk for you? It wasn’t for us either. You can view an additional 40 minutes in orbit here.