International Space Station Bowel Movements in Crisis

Illustration for article titled International Space Station Bowel Movements in Crisis

Aw, shit! Seems that pesky 35-pound toilet at the International Space Station is broken…again. If you recall, back in June, the airflow-propelled galactic john experienced a spot of constipation due to a failed pump, leaving the poor chumps on board without a fully functional lavatory for roughly 10 days. According to, the latest “temporary telemetry glitch also sent the space station into a so-called survival mode.” While the technicians fix the “gas separator issue” (we can’t make this stuff up, people), the crew will redirect individual efforts to the loo in the visiting Soyuz spacecraft—yup, the very vehicle schlepping computer-game developer/lucky-bastard space tourist/commode commodore Richard Garriott. Meanwhile, NASA is shelling out 19 million bucks for a second, state-of-the-art Russian back-up toilet that’ll surely put that hoity-toity gold-plated throne in Hong Kong to shame. Malfunctioning toilet? Possible former communists on board? We smell (among other things) a cover up! Vote on what you think the real reason is behind NASA’s latest crisis: (a) a run-of-the-mill technical difficulties (b) a clandestine alien invasion (c) some knucklehead flushed a condom down the hatch (d) a sentient central-computer-system hazing its peeps (e) that damn cabbage-and-liver borscht that space-station commander Sergei Volkov insisted on whipping up Image courtesy of davefigley

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Annalee Newitz

I vote condom as the cause.