International Space Station astronauts are eagerly awaiting the arrival of shuttle Discovery since it'sbringing a new pump to mend their broken toilet.
I bet they are! Can you imagine no flushing mechanism in space?
The station's urine collection unit, as opposed to its solid waste unit, has been malfunctioning for several days. NASA said it thought a separator pump was at fault and the three male crew members were operating it manually.
To make room for the new part, NASA has had to remove other equipment from the shuttle, which launches on Saturday.
"Clearly, having a working toilet is a priority for us," shuttle payload manager Scott Higginbotham said.
The Discovery mission is the second of three to take up key components of the Japanese-built Kibo laboratory.
Read the full story here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7425180.stm
It goes without saying that a working toilet is an absolute necessity, given the gravity situation. One wonders what and how they are disposing of the urine. One shudders to think...
Thought du jour: if a person flushes in space, does anyone hear it?