In The News : Serious Problems, Simple Repairs

At the weekend, I replaced a doorstep.

At the front of my house there’s a porch that I don’t use (as you can tell my the state of the path on the photo below – the next project).  Turns out that a mouse did use the porch but couldn’t quite get in without enlarging the little bit of space available.  Apparently mice won’t attempt to get in somewhere that they don’t have a chance to get in to, but if you give them a chance then they’ll be sure to take it.

They definitely took this one, which meant I had to do a cut and shut job on the door and replace the step.  Of course, I was demoted to the more simple tasks of holding, carrying and painting with preservative, although I was trusted to occasionally use tools that offered the potential for me to hurt myself, including a drill and a router.  The circular saw was off limits and was operated by the person who I had to take to hospital earlier in the year because he’d cut the top of his finger off with, you guessed it, a circular saw.

The process of replacing the step involved cutting, routing, drilling, screwing and painting.  One would think that fixing something complex like, say, a space station would be a little more involved than my doorstep.  Alas not.

Last week, the International Space Station sprung a leak, which is quite a big deal when all that separates the astronauts from oblivion is thin metal.

According to Popular Mechanics:

Initially, ground crews monitoring the ISS noticed the leak because of a small drop in air pressure aboard the station while the astronauts were sleeping. With a larger leak, the astronauts would have been woken up right away, but this particular leak was small enough that NASA decided it could wait until morning.

Once the astronauts woke up, they immediately spent the first few hours hunting down the leak. They finally located it aboard the orbital section of Soyuz spacecraft MS-09, although it’s not exactly clear what could have caused it. The leak itself is a small hole two millimeters wide, and NASA suspects it was caused by a small micrometeorite punching a hole in the wall.

So obviously they weren’t quite as fussed as I think I might have been, but after hours of searching one of the astronauts plugged the hole with his thumb while the others went and found some tape to put on it!  Good news – it’s working.

I guess that sometimes even the smallest action can solve a big problem. I’m still proud of the step replacement though.

Comments 1

  1. A big thumbs up…”I guess that sometimes even the smallest action can solve a big problem.”

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