National Geographic : 1961 Nov
Venetian Blinds Cool and Warm the Gondola, a Cage Open to the Sky's Deadly Dangers Comdr. Malcolm D. Ross, sitting before his instrument panel, dis cusses plans with his copilot, Lt. Comdr. Victor A. Prather, Jr., on the evening before the flight. Made of aluminum tubing, the gondola offers scant protection against the near-vacuum, radiation, and -94° F. cold that the men will face. Adjustable slats, black on one side, aluminized on the other, will absorb or reflect the sun's heat. Buttonlike electrodes cemented to the body will broadcast Ross's heart beat. Other sensors will record brain waves, respiration, and temperature. Collodion and rubber cement hold the electrodes firm. "It took weeks to get that stuff off," says Ross. Dressing takes hours. Prather puts on the last item, cold-weather clothing specially developed for the flight. Trouser legs and other parts are stuck together in sections so that they may be torn off and jettisoned in an emergency. Plastic face plate permits wide-angle vision.