I told you to go before we left the planet
May 29, 2008 Leave a comment
Houston, we have a problem.
Four words you don’t want to hear in space:
“The toilet is broken.”
Space is a long way to try and hold it. Try sitting on the edge of the capsule and crossing your legs.
Russian mission control told the crew — Russian Cosmonauts Sergey Volkov and Oleg Kononenko, and Garrett Reisman, a NASA astronaut, to use the toilet on the Soyuz capsule that is attached to the station as a lifeboat. But that system has very limited capacity, and so repairing the system has become an increasingly urgent issue.
“Increasingly urgent.” I like that.
I know when my toilet is busted or the water in my building is turned off for repairs, things can get a bit, um, difficult for me, but at least I am not 217 miles away from the closest toilet. Or tree.
A space clog is a bit different than a typical earth-bound clog. Because there is no gravity, a space toilet uses an air flow system that guy, a Canadian astronaut (Who knew Canada had a space program?) says it actually sucks the waste out of you:
The good news, however, is that NASA is on top of it and a new part is on the way this weekend.
NASA rushed Wednesday to get a special pump on board shuttle Discovery to fix a balky toilet at the international space station, as the launch countdown got under way…
To make room for the pump inside Discovery’s crammed cabin, NASA was going to pull out some wrenches, a spare part for the space station’s oxygen generator, and a microbe-killing device for use in the European space lab.
“Clearly, having a working toilet is a priority for us, so some of these things that we didn’t need for the next six months or so could wait,” said payload manager Scott Higginbotham.
A spare part for the oxygen generator? Really? I mean, don’t get me wrong, the toilet is important, but i can hold it in longer than i can hold my breath.
Wasn’t there anything else that could be removed?
NASA is also squeezing in a Disney action figure, Buzz Lightyear. The toy popularized by the 1995 movie “Toy Story” will spend several months at the space station as part of an educational program for math and science teachers and their students.
Oh, well then, it’s nice that we made sure there was a place for all the important stuff…