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Astronauts Use Toothbrush To Fix Issue On International Space Station

by Adriana Lee | September 9, 2012

Nasatoothbrush

And you thought you knew what hardware problems are. It’s one thing to install RAM that your system won’t recognize, but it’s quite another to be in outerspace when a glitch happens.

Recently, astronauts Sunita Williams and Akihiko Hoshide were supposed to install a new MBSU (main bus switching unit) on the International Space Station, but while they were on the spacewalk to the affected area, they discovered they couldn’t proceed — the bolts were jammed in place. Apparently there were some metal shavings that were stuck in there. Now this is no small matter; the situation could have hampered the station’s solar energy sources.

They did what needed to be done — they got MacGyver-y all over it. They rooted around inside the station for anything that could help, and came up some with makeshift tools that included a pressurized can of nitrogen gas and an extra toothbrush. That’s right — on one of the most techno-forward environments in the history of man, it was a lowly toothbrush that helped save the day. The astronauts stepped outside again for the spacewalk, and a few hours into it, managed to clear the bolts, lubricate them and install the MBSU. Then, as if to further prove their interstellar handiness, they went ahead and swapped out a glitchy camera out out there too.

Guess there’s just nowhere to hide from mechanical issues, not even outerspace.

By the way, the situation was also noteworthy for another reason: Thanks to that spacewalk, Sunita Williams is now the female astronaut with the most time logged working in the vacuum of outerspace.

[Via Space.comNASA]


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Adriana Lee

Adriana is the resident writer-slash-culture vulture who has written about everything from smartphones, tablets, apps, accessories, and small biz...Adriana is the resident writer-slash-culture vulture who has written about everything from smartphones, tablets, apps, accessories, and small biz...


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