Well, I suppose it could be worse. Yes, the crew of the International Space Station (ISS) could be running from Aliens and Predators, or trying to shut down an insane (Windows?) computer intent on killing every astronaut.
Still, a backed up space toilet can’t be very much fun at all, and I really don’t envy crew member Ron Garan, who was drafted to fix the space station’s zero gravity potty.
Garan seemed to be taking this all in stride. Not that he had much of a choice, of course, as the station crew wasn’t too pleased with the foul odors emanating from one of the orbiting lab’s toilets.
After some head-scratching and a bit of tinkering, the astronauts and (NASA) Mission Control concluded errant air bubbles had clogged up some of the $90 million orbital commode’s delicate plumbing.
Station astronaut Mike Fossum, who served as Garan’s spacewalk partner, said the backed up toilet illustrated the “great thing” about human spaceflight. (Easy for him to say, right?)
“One day you’re outside spacewalking, doing the most outrageous things the humans have ever done. The next day you’re fixing toilets and unpacking boxes.”
Chris Edelen, lead space station flight director, told reporters Garan’s unfortunate latrine duty was really “all in the life of an astronaut.”
“We want to be good hosts and have a toilet there that works,” Edelman explained. “We even invited the shuttle crewmembers to use it if they need to.”
Fortunately, the ISS is equipped with two space toilets, with one located on the Russian side, and the other in the U.S. module.
Which is a damn good thing if you ask me, because remember, in space, no one can hear you pee.