PetaPixel

Houston, We Have a Problem: Astronaut’s Camera Floats Away Into Space

If you’ve gone to see the blockbuster hit Gravity in theaters, you’ll recall several moments when Sandra Bullock’s character nearly lost something into the abyss of space — be it a drill or a screw, everything needs to be strapped down because the slightest movement will send it careening into the unknown.

Well, that was Hollywood, but the real deal did actually happened to astronaut Sunita Williams back in 2006 when her camera just up and floated away from her during a 7-hour space walk.

The video above shows what was happening, with the camera floating away around 30 seconds in. The best part of the video, however, is the dialogue that accompanies the mishap. As the camera slips away, you can hear Houston pointing it out, saying “I hope it’s tethered” and then a strained “okay… we see that” after it becomes obvious it was not.

This isn’t the clip that first caught our attention, however. Another clip, uploaded in 2011, claims to show footage from what should be the selfsame camera after it became detached from Williams’ suit:

We’re not entirely sure this one is legit since the footage that is supposed to overlap seems wrong and even the date of the spacewalk in the description is off. Plus, the Earth looks rather small when the camera spins around to look at the space station, but then again we have very little experience with cameras floating away in space, so feel free to correct us.

If it is legitimate, then it makes a heck of an addition to the popular footage at the top — a bit of a terrifying addition if we’re being honest. Want to know what it’s like to float helplessly into space? Now you do.

So check out both videos, say a little prayer for the lost camera (which has probably burned up in the atmosphere by now) and think on the benefits of gravity. Sure, it’s gravity that slams your several-thousand-dollar lens into the ground when you drop it… but at least you have the option to set it down safely without worrying about it going anywhere.