Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Say, Could You Hand Me the Vise-Gri...

You've gotta feel bad for space shuttle Endeavour astronaut Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper, who last week lost her grip on a tool bag while spacewalking on a repair task outside the orbiting International Space Station.

I know what it's like to drop a tool while working in an awkward position - I've done it a thousand times. Judging from the ratchets and sockets and miscellaneous tools I see on the road, it's a common occurrence. And from experience, I know to disconnect the battery cable before using an oil filter wrench on an '84 Nissan Sentra. Ouch!

Initially, NASA officials were hopeful that the tool-bag could be replaced, until they found out that the next Cornwell Shuttle wasn't scheduled until 2010.

Anyway, the mission continued, with another toolkit now being shared by the astronauts. The missing $100,000 tool-bag is, thankfully, being tracked by a helpful Canadian with binoculars.

Ironically, the task was to repair and lubricate a balky tone-arm on the Space Station's phonograph, which is now stuck playing the same passage over and over: "Ground control to Major Tom...ground control to Major Tom..."

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