Being lost in space is one of the things astronauts fear the most. But what if they had a spacesuit button that could take them back to their place?
Engineers are developing a new technology which they have named it the ‘Take Me Home’ button. The complex system includes a hardware and software incorporated into a space suit. So, if something unexpected happens while spacewalking, the button could send astronauts home.
However, there is a big difficulty about this. And that is keeping track of the location in outer space.
Locating someone on Earth works through GPS satellites that orbit us twice a day. Thus, triangulating a device’s position relative to satellites in orbit.
But astronauts in space are basically outside of the range that these satellites can track.
Another problem is that everything in space is in constant motion. So, even a rescue mission would find it hard to find and rescue the lost person.
However, NASA is currently funding Draper, an engineering company, to successfully develop the “Take Me Home” button.
But still, when astronauts are outside, during spacewalks, a rope tethers them to the space station. So, its really hard for them lose in space. Astronauts also wear a jet backpack known as SAFER. The backpack contains very small thrusters that expel gas and propel an astronaut in the wanted direction. But still, if disoriented, it’s really hard for an astronaut to control them.
However, people living outside the Earth would really welcome the ‘Take Me Home’ technology.
An astronaut would be able to activate the new system by only pressing a button. Or, crewmembers on the space station could do it to if they saw their mate adrift in space.
The Draper company is currently working to find an idea on how to locate the astronauts lost in space. One idea is that the suit might navigate by mapping stars or through other visual clues that can help it to figure out where it is, relative to where it wants to go.