Monday, September 18, 2006

Space Junk

Astronauts were attaching some new pieces to the International Space Station when they lost a bolt. Two of them, actually. On back-to-back spacewalks.

A 1 1/2 inch bolt doesn't sound like a big deal, but it can really do some damage if it punctures a space suit or some fragile space equipment. Especially when everything is zipping around the earth at almost 18,000 miles per hour. Mission Control, however, is sure that the lost fasteners are floating harmlessly back into the atmosphere.

It's not like if you lost a bolt at your house. They can't just stop by Space Depot and pick up another one. Instead, in both instances, they just "used three bolts for the task instead of four."

Let me get this straight. First, they can't come up with a way to keep these things from floating away. Second, they didn't bring any extras just in case. And third, they decided to just skip one and use three bolts when the brackets are designed for four.

And they told me I couldn't be a rocket scientist.

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