NASA’s planned effort to repair a torn solar panel on Saturday was slow, daring and ultimately successful. The ISS’s robotic arm held tight to one end of a 50-foot-long boom. At the far end of the boom, astronaut Scott Parazynski’s boots were locked into an extension, and the spacewalker stretched out as far as he could to sew together the ripped panels.
Crew members inside the station operated the robotic arm, while another spacewalker, Colonel Douglas Wheelock, looked on from a different vantage point outside the ISS. As if this facet of the operation weren’t complex enough, the repair job itself was far from simple: there was a risk of electric shock from the live panels. The success is yet another testament to the ingenuity of the space community, but it’s also a reminder that setting up an outpost on the Moon or Mars is not going to be easy.—Gregory Mone
(Image credit: NASA)