Cold Hands, Warm Hearts

How cold was it? So cold that astronauts Bernard Harris and Mike Foale could have seen their breath (except that water vapor doesn't condense in space helmets); so cold that they could have heard their footsteps crunch (except that they were walking on less than air); so cold that they had to cut short their spacewalk from the shuttle last week. Bingo. The goal was to test thick gloves designed to let future astros build a space station in orbit without getting frostbite. But in the shadow created by the shuttle, it was minus 90 to minus 125 degrees Fahrenheit: space, unlike Earth, has no atmosphere to hold onto the sun's infrared radiation so any warmth just zips toward Pluto. The gloves couldn't take it. So much for space-age materials. ""We found out that . . . it gets cold outside,'' Harris told reporters from 200 miles up. Mission accomplished.
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