Spacewalking Astronauts Resort to Hacking Up the Humble Toothbrush to Fix the ISS

By Sam Gibbs on at

You'd think they'd take tools up with them for everything, considering the nearest hardware shop is at least 205 miles away back on the ground, but apparently not. Astronauts had to resort to hacking up an electric toothbrush to fix a stuck bolt on the outside of the International Space Station -- the first ever space-based hackathon.

Akihiko Hoshide and Sunita Williams took out their makeshift tools and managed, after 4.5 hours, to budge that stuck bolt and install a replacement power switching unit, restoring full power to the station and its plethora of experiments. All it took was a bit of brute force, wiggling, brushing, and the odd puff of nitrogen -- simple, I'm sure.

What’s next? DIY air filters; hacked Raspberry Pi-based bots, or maybe even the ISS's very own automated espresso dispenser? Because even astronauts need their caffeine hit in the morning just like the rest of us. Wait, it is the morning, right? [Reuters]

Image credit: Toothbrush from Shutterstock

Thanks Darrell!