Nasa fuels public alarm after airing ‘scary’ medical drill on space station; here’s what happens next

NASA on Wednesday accidentally aired a ‘disturbing’ audio about an emergency situation on board the International Space Station (ISS), fueling a public alarm on social media. A medical drill that depicted a crew member in critical condition was inadvertently broadcast on an official webcast.

A medical drill that depicted a NASA crew member in critical condition was inadvertently broadcast on an official webcast.(Getty)

Here is what went wrong

At 6:28 p.m. ET, the regularly planned broadcast was cut short by an unnamed speaker who appeared to be a flight surgeon discussing with the ISS crew how to handle a commander who was experiencing severe compression sickness.

After instructing the team to “check his pulse one more time,” the speaker put astronaut inside a suit that was filled with pure oxygen. Any action, in her words, would be a “best effort treatment” and preferable than doing nothing.

“Unfortunately, the prognosis for Commander is relatively tenuous,” she was heard as saying.

She then advised the team to get him dressed as soon as possible, expressing her concern that there have been some serious cases of DCS (decompression sickness).

In an apparent attempt to request an urgent departure from the space station, she mentioned about a hospital with hyperbaric treatment capabilities located in San Fernando, Spain.

Flight surgeons are medical professionals stationed in mission control centers who have received advanced training in aerospace medicine, according to NASA.

The incident soon gained attention on social media due to a number of well-known space accounts — one user described the incident as “odd and disturbing.”

Also Read: ‘Once-in-a-lifetime’ nova explosion set to stun viewers with spectacular light show, NASA says: All you need to know

NASA issues statement after the incident

However, NASA later clarified that the situation wasn’t real and that the ISS crew was all sound sleeping at the time, allaying fears among the space fans who were listening.

“There is no emergency situation going on aboard the International Space Station,” NASA’s ISS account posted on X.

“At approximately 5:28 p.m. CDT, audio was aired on the NASA livestream from a simulation audio channel on the ground indicating a crew member was experiencing effects related to decompression sickness,” the agency continued.

“Audio was inadvertently misrouted from an ongoing simulation where crew members and ground teams train for various scenarios in space.”

The spacewalk tomorrow is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. EDT as all remain healthy and safe.

Reacting to NASA’s clarification, one X user wrote: “You had a bunch of us about to turn blue.”

“That’s a relief super glad that everyone is ok and safe and healthy,” another added.

Eric Berger, a Senior Space Editor at Ars Technical, chimed in, “I can confirm with 100 percent confidence that there is no emergency on board the International Space Station. It was a sim not involving the crew.

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