clogged toilet on space station

In the news today, the toilet on the International Space Station is clogged and broken.  One source said it’s a “fabrication flaw” in the toilet’s compressor units.  NASA said the equipment isn’t providing enough suction on a regular basis.  So in other words, it doesn’t suck enough.  Or I guess you could say it sucks at sucking.  🙂

The news article says “this is no laughing matter”, which is an understatement for those on board the space station because they may have to start using plastic bags.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t laugh at it.  🙂

But what’s not funny is the cost of the toilet.  Granted, it’s a high-tech toilet, because in space there is no gravity, so you need some type of fan-based vacuum system.  But wait ’til you hear the cost — $19 million! And NASA bought this from Russia, because they said it was cheaper than building their own.  Also, this toilet is also like a local municipal treatment center, because it recycles the urine into drinking water.  So it’s definitely high-tech.  But $19 million?!?  I know there’s a lot of smart people at NASA, so surely they could come up with something cheaper.

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