After several days of frantic activity in space, astronauts Bernard Harris and Michael Foale are about to chill out. Way out.
During a four-hour, 50-minute spacewalk Thursday morning, the two astronauts will park themselves in the shade of the space shuttle Discovery to see how cold they get.
Foale and Harris aren’t being punished by NASA. The deep freeze is designed to test recent improvements in the spacesuits worn by U.S. astronauts.
Orbiting 219 miles above Earth, Harris and Foale will climb out onto Discovery’s 50-foot-long robot arm starting about 6:42 a.m. EST. Shuttle commander Jim Wetherbee will turn the space plane around so Foale and Harris are as far from any sunlight as possible. Then the two astronauts will stay still and chill out.
Computer models estimate that Foale and Harris will be standing in temperatures averaging minus 90 degrees Fahrenheit - and it may get as cold as minus 125 degrees.