Astronaut on how to sneeze in helmet: 'Aim low'

Veteran spacewalker David Wolf answered a video question from the public Tuesday, explaining how to sneeze in a helmet during a spacewalk. His answer: "Aim low."

William Harwood
Bill Harwood has been covering the U.S. space program full-time since 1984, first as Cape Canaveral bureau chief for United Press International and now as a consultant for CBS News. He has covered more than 125 shuttle missions, every interplanetary flight since Voyager 2's flyby of Neptune, and scores of commercial and military launches. Based at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Harwood is a devoted amateur astronomer and co-author of "Comm Check: The Final Flight of Shuttle Columbia." You can follow his frequent status updates at the CBS News Space page.
William Harwood

During a Twitter/YouTube question-and-answer session aboard the International Space Station on Tuesday, members of the shuttle Endeavour's crew fielded a variety of enquiries about life in orbit, including one that shed new light on the rigors of spacewalking.

Astronaut Dave Wolf explains how to sneeze in space while crewmates Julie Payette (upside down), shuttle commander Mark Polansky (left) and pilot Doug Hurley listen. NASA TV

"Hi, I'm Dawn from Indianapolis, Indiana, and my question is if you're in a spacesuit, especially out on an EVA and you have to sneeze, how do you deal with that? Especially if it splatters," one viewer asked in a video message uplinked to the astronauts. "Second part, if your nose itches while you're in a spacesuit, how do you deal with that? Thank you."

"Great question, absolutely great question because I've done it quite a few times, most recently yesterday," astronaut and veteran spacewalker David Wolf replied from the station. "And you learn in training, I don't know how to say this, but aim low, off the windshield, because it can mess up your view and there's no way to clear it. That's how you do it."

The solution to an itching nose remains a mystery.