Yet another reason to never leave home without your toothbrush. As Gina Sunseri of ABC reports:
A $100 billion space station saved by a simple $3 toothbrush? It was the brainstorm of astronauts Sunita Williams and Akihido Hoshide and NASA engineers on the ground: a tool to clean a bolt that gave them so much trouble during a marathon 8-hour spacewalk last week.
They were trying to replace an electrical switching unit, but on Thursday they couldn't bolt it to the outside of the station.
What to do if there is no hardware store in the neighborhood and the next supply ship is months away? Build it yourself — so they attached a simple toothbrush to a metal pole and voila! They were able to clean out the bolt's socket today and finish the job. Shades of Apollo 13 — when engineers threw parts on a table and brainstormed a solution, which saved the crew.