thumbnail A stroll above the stratosphere
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A stroll above the stratosphere © NASA
If this photo from 200-plus miles above Earth dizzies you, imagine how it felt to be Alexei Leonov on March 18, 1965. The Soviet cosmonaut achieved the first-ever extravehicular activity (EVA—but you and I just call it a spacewalk). He spent about 12 minutes outside the orbiting Voskhod 2 capsule. It was the ultimate risk: No one knew just what could happen to a human body in the vacuum of space. Near heatstroke, drenched with sweat, and with his suit dangerously inflating, Leonov barely made it back inside the airlock.