When you gotta go, you gotta go, even if you’re spaced out.
Space flight is exotic and adventuresome and it takes a long time to get ‘er done since nothing out there is close to anything back here.
Now, according to a story on MSNBC.com, there’s a real problem way out there in the way-out.
Everyone who has accrued a decent number of years has experienced the frustration of a stopped-up toilet at the homestead. Transport that homestead 67-gazillion miles into space and try to find a plumber who makes house calls.
A plugged-up potty is the latest kink in life aboard the international space station’s largest laboratory. The crew has nowhere to go — literally.
According to the story, the outpost’s long-term hygiene and routine comfort are now threatened unless critical spare parts can be identified, found, and loaded aboard the space shuttle Discovery as it sits on the launch pad in Florida.
Most of us have waited impatiently in line at public restrooms. Most of us know that at some point the mind turns to thoughts of mayhem toward the current occupier.
The crew aboard the space station can’t just step outside, and the inside is out of order.
With all of the thought and planning that had to go into the international space station, it’s beyond rational belief that the checklist didn’t include some alternative evacuation plan.
Waiting on another shuttle flight to deliver critical spare parts lends a totally new meaning to the words “hold it.”
TROUBLE STARTED May 21 in the Russian-built Zvezda Service Module, which is the main living room.
According to a NASA status report: “While using the toilet system in the Service Module, the crew heard a loud noise and the fan stopped working.”
I wouldn’t trust Russia to build anything, much less my own toilet with parts supplied by the lowest bidder.
However, I will admit this much: On several occasions I have known the fan to stop working after a loud noise in the bathroom.
PITY JOSH BYERLY, the NASA spokesman who had to inform the world that the toilet was still balky.
Byerly didn’t note a “fabrication flaw” found in the toilet’s compressor units. A Houston source said the hardware used there for the crew’s (potty) training may be flown to Florida for launch aboard Discovery.
That hardware is expected to fail quickly after it gets there slowly.
So, we’re flying stuff that won’t work to the moon or wherever to fix stuff that won’t work.
There is an emergency supply of “Apollo bags,” as used by earlier astronauts. The story described them as bags with sticky openings.
Someone should sneak a plumber’s helper aboard the next flight.