In space, no one can hear you flush — because the toilet isn’t working.
The team aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Endeavor, composed of mission commander Shane Kimbrough, pilot Megan McArthur, and mission specialists Akihiko Hoshide and Thomas Pesquet, have been chilling at the International Space Station since April. That’s a long time. The good news is that they’re scheduled to return to Earth on Monday night, but (here’s the bad news) “all of that is dependent on the weather,” NPR reports. For those poor astronauts, it can’t be soon enough: the toilet aboard the ship is broken, so the crew will have to wear diapers when they, ahem, splash down. Not ideal.
In this weekend’s press conference, McArthur confirmed that the toilets on board Dragon Endeavor are broken. “Of course that’s sub-optimal, but we’re prepared to manage,” she said with a smile. “Space flight is full of lots of little challenges, this is just one more that we’ll encounter and take care of in our mission.”
The lengthy mission has been a successful one — the crew grew green chiles and enjoyed the “best space tacos yet” — but I’m sorry, all I can think about is the bathroom aboard the multi-billion dollar spaceship with an “Out of Order” sign, like the world’s (universe’s?) most expensive 7-Eleven. Apparently, space toilets are a frequent nuisance: “An alarm went off on SpaceX’s all-tourist flight earlier this year, signaling a problem with the onboard waste management system.”
This explains why we never see the bathrooms aboard the Enterprise. Picard is wearing a diaper.