Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne with a story of a stellar MacGyvering. The International Space Station was faced with a malfunctioning electrical unit and couldn't screw down a new one because the exterior bolts were covered in debris. After two astronauts were stuck outside for hours, they hit on an idea - scrub the bolts clean with a toothbrush. It was a thrifty fix for the $100 billion space station and luckily the toothbrush was a spare. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
In addition to surveying the planets, the Voyager mission also spent time studying the planets' satellites, or moons. This mosaic image, taken in 1989, shows Neptune's largest satellite, Triton. Triton has the coldest surface temperature known anywhere in the solar system.
The Voyager 1 spacecraft's 35th anniversary is proving to be unexpectedly exciting, as scientists gathered this week to examine new hints that the spacecraft is on the verge of leaving our solar system.
Voyager 1 is now more than 11 billion miles away from Earth. It blasted off in September 1977, on a mission to Jupiter and Saturn. But it also carried a Golden Record filled with music and the sounds of our planet, in case it encountered intelligent life as it moved out toward the stars.
When we heard that astronauts aboard the International Space Station took a spare toothbrush along on a spacewalk today and used it to help clean debris from around some bolts they needed to secure in order to install a power unit, it got us thinking.
Just how versatile are old toothbrushs? We know we've used them to:
-- Clean bike gears.
-- Get grime out of our hubcaps.
-- Get at the crust around a car battery's terminals.
Before we run through the news of the day, let's pause for something spectactular: a new video from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. It shows a "massive filament" eruption on the sun that occurred last Friday. As Britain's The Register says, it is "mind-bogglingly gorgeous."