Astronaut loses part of his spacesuit on spacewalk: A parable for our culture and the promise of good news


Astronaut in outer space near ISS station on orbit of the Earth.

NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy and Robert Behnken were replacing the lithium ion batteries on the International Space Station Friday morning when a piece of Cassidy’s spacesuit broke off and floated away. This does not sound like good news.

However, the part in question was Cassidy’s left wrist mirror. Astronauts wear them on both wrists so they can see labels, switches, and actuators on their suits that are otherwise out of view. Cassidy used the mirror on his right wrist for the rest of the spacewalk, so there was no harm done.

According to NASA, this was the seventh spacewalk for both Cassidy and Behnken. They will conduct a similar spacewalk on Wednesday.

Behnken told CNN, “I really look forward to the views of the Earth when we get a free moment. I think each astronaut, when they go out on their first spacewalk, they’re really focused on trying to get all the activities accomplished and do a good job so that they can probably get a chance to do another one if the opportunity presents itself.

“But after you’ve done a couple and know what to expect as you go through it, it is important to, you know, take some mental photographs, some mental images, or remember what it was like to be outside.”

A parable for our culture and the promise of good news

This story serves as a parable for our culture.

Humanity has never been as technologically advanced as we are today. Repairing batteries on an orbiting space station is something previous generations could not have imagined. Nor would they have anticipated a digitally connected world in which these words written in Dallas can be read around the globe.

However, no matter our scientific advances, we are finite and fallen. A virus that began in China has, as of today, caused more than five hundred thousand deaths worldwide. An economy that was setting positive records a few months ago is setting negative…

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