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In which Hank talks about a smattering of the most terrifying real-life close-calls in space travel. The Russians seem to have a particular knack for getting into terrible situations but, somehow, not dying.

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Good Morning, John.

It's the day after Halloween. I don't like scary things very much but I did recently go see the movie Gravity, which was I... terrifying. I went to see it with Henry from Minute Physics and Derek from Veritasium and yes: for a brief period after the movie we did discuss how it violated the laws of physics a couple of times. Kind of annoying -- talked about that on SciShow, you can go watch it. But nevertheless, obviously a very great movie, and we spent more time talking about the actual, terrifying, real-life space disasters that many astronauts and cosmonauts have gone through. Not made up, not fictional and in the spirit of Halloween, lets talk about the real terrifying, terrifyingness of space.

For example, we all know that Neil Armstrong was a badass but did you know that in 1966 he was piloting Gemini 8 which got a maneuvering thruster stuck on it started to spin and spin and spin faster and faster and faster. They were within seconds of passing out due to the extreme G Forces - the thing was spinning at more than 1 rotation per second - when Neil Armstrong managed to get it under control because he's amazing.

Before that, in 1965, Alexey Leonov was the first person to ever do a space walk in a outer space suit. However when he went to get back in the capsule, he couldn't fit - his space suit had inflated to much. Oh I guess I'll just never go home. Instead what he did is he vented his space suit into space until he shrunk enough.
He was suffering from the bends in the cramped capsule so it took a little longer than they thought to get back to atmosphere so they landed way off course in a freezing cold forest. They opened it up and found that they were pretty much surrounded by wolves so they just stayed in the capsule until somebody came and rescued them.

Soyuz 5 was sent back for reentry with a single cosmonaut inside -- Boris Volynov. The service module, which is supposed to detach didn't detach so the thing went into the atmosphere nose first with the hatch slowly burning through. Luckily, the service module burned away and it righted itself -- what? But then the parachute didn't deploy correctly, and neither did the landing rockets fire, so he landed so hard that he broke his teeth. Also, no one knew where he was so he got out and walked several kilometers in negative 36 degrees Fahrenheit to a peasant's house to say "Hey, I'm a cosmonaut. My teeth are broken, can I sleep here?". The Russian Space Program, man. Wow!

Even scarier, Soyuz 18a -- named 18a by the way because they only name successful missions in Russia so they just call it 18a because that doesn't quite count as a mission - because when it was taking off, a separation failure caused the rocket to slowly turn and point itself toward the ground. The cosmonauts inside the capsule experience g-forces of 021G's which is like 3 G's away from lethal. Luckily the capsule figured out something was wrong, the abort sequence started and it flipped off. Despite the fact it was going toward the ground extremely quickly, the parachutes actually held. However, then it landed on the side of a snowy mountain, uh, and then slowly began to roll down the mountain toward a 400-foot cliff. It stopped like 20 feet away because its parachute -- again -- saved them by getting tangled in vegetation.

And it continues! Soyuz 23 crashed through the surface of a frozen lake and the cosmonauts had to stay down there for 9 hours before they got rescued - at the bottom of a lake. That's terrifying.

Apollo 13 -- very well known story, harrowing experience. But did you know that Apollo 12 also almost ended in disaster, when it was struck by lightning twice during launch.

Pretty much everything you can think of going wrong in space has gone wrong in space. Fires in space, space craft being depressurized, space suits being depressurized, there was a guy who poked a hole in his hand but he survived too. The most recent terrifying near miss was when Luca Parmitano's space suit malfunctioned and started dumping water that he was supposed to be drinking into his helmet, filling up his helmet with water in space. I don't want to drown in space. Scarier than any ghost story you're gonna hear on Halloween.

Thanks everyone for submitting your nerdy pumpkins for the Nerdfighter Pumpkin Carving Contest where you can win a book from by shelf inscribed to you by me. Please now go and look at all of the ones that have been submitted and vote on your favorites. In a week we will tally up the most voted up ones and they will get the prizes.

John, thanks for sharing this week and I'll see you on Tuesday.