Friday, May 30, 2008

The Shuttle is Carrying What?

Am I the only one to notice this? Or am I the only one whose mind is....well, the kind of mind that would point it out?

The current space shuttle mission, STS-124, is carrying two important cargoes for the International Space Station.

One, about 50cm long, is a replacement pump for the ISS's zero-g toilet. If you understand even a little basic physics, you can see that excretion in free fall has certain, um, unusual hazards associated with it, and as a consequence the toilet facilities have to be rather high-tech. And it's a bit of a nuisance when a piece of that technology goes on the fritz. So the ISS crew are looking forward to getting the space-loo working properly again.

The other, and much larger item (about 11 meters and 15 tonnes) is a Japanese lab module to be affixed to the side of the ISS. The name of the module is (wait for it).....


In Japanese, this means "hope". So let's hope the crew makes sure to install the correct item in the correct place....

OK, I'll admit it's childish.

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