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Monday, February 26, 2007

The Wrong Stuff

Ever since the Lisa Nowak incident, people have been speculating about what would happen if an astronaut came unhinged while in outer space. Well, now we know:
    Duct-Tape, Tranquilizers Part Of NASA's Plan for Mentally Unstable Astronauts in Space CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- What would happen if an astronaut came unglued in space and, say, destroyed the ship's oxygen system or tried to open the hatch and kill everyone aboard? That was the question on some minds after the apparent breakdown of Lisa Nowak, arrested in Orlando this month on charges she tried to kidnap and kill a woman she regarded as her rival for another astronaut's affections. It turns out NASA has a detailed set of written procedures for dealing with a suicidal or psychotic astronaut in space. The documents, obtained this week by The Associated Press, say the astronaut's crewmates should bind his wrists and ankles with duct tape, tie him down with a bungee cord and inject him with tranquilizers if necessary. "Talk with the patient while you are restraining him," the instructions say. "Explain what you are doing, and that you are using a restraint to ensure that he is safe." The instructions do not spell out what happens after that. But NASA spokesman James Hartsfield said the space agency, a flight surgeon on the ground and the commander in space would decide on a case-by-case basis whether to abort the flight, in the case of the shuttle, or send the unhinged astronaut home, if the episode took place on the international space station.
I'm reminded of that old adage, "In space, no one can hear you scream." That's especially true when your crewmates tie you up and duct tape your mouth.

1 comment:

Chris Wilde said...

I think we could come up with so many science-fiction-movie-allusion jokes to go with this story that they need to be cataloged and cross-referenced:

#ST2808: Wrath of Khan, mind-controlling Ceti eel joke, variant B.

HA-ha-ha-ha! ROTFLOL!

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