Japan space agency sent Chilean miners astronaut underwear

2010-10-13 09:09

Tokyo – Japan’s space agency said it had sent special astronaut underwear for the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped deep underground for ten weeks, ahead of the rescue operation that kicked off today.

The high-tech “space underwear” has special moisture and odour absorbent properties, said an official of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), although he said it was uncertain the men had actually chosen to wear it.

“Originally, we were told the rescue was going to take much longer. Our package was handed over to the Chilean authority last Wednesday,” the JAXA official said.

“It might have been difficult for the products to actually reach the workers there. But I hope our thoughts reached them,” he said, speaking shortly after the first miner, Florencio Avalos, was lifted in a steel cage to safety.

The inner clothes, developed by JAXA and fabric manufacturers, were sent to help the men as they endured their ordeal in the hot, dank conditions that they have described as “hell”.

The underwear is made of the same material as that worn by Japanese astronaut Naoko Yamazaki during a two-week space shuttle Discovery mission in April to the International Space Station, JAXA said.

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