Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Company's Coming and the Plumbing's Backed-up

(Photo: $19 mil Russian built toilet)

We've all wondered how it's done. Come on, admit it, you really want to know. In fact, it is asked more than ten to one over all other questions - how do astronauts go to the bathroom in space? In coming days, we're going to know more than we truly wanted to know because the Space Station toilet is broken.

Last week, while using the space loo, a very lucky astronaut "heard a loud noise and the fan stopped working.” Now, that's bad enough here on Earth where the bathroom has a window that can be cracked open, but this is Space with that pesky airless vacuum problem. Yeah, and don't even think of lighting a match.

There is good news though. The 'solid' waste collector is working fine. The bad news is that the 'liquid' waste collector took a dump.

The use of toilets in Earth gravity often proves too much for many folks down here, but up there where the air is rare, toilet navigation is trickier. "Space toilets use jets of fan-propelled air to guide waste into the proper container." To get around the current plumbing problems, the multinational crew has been advised to use the Soyuz facilities, however those are quite limited.

And it gets worse - company is coming.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

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