Astronauts Use Toothbrush to Fix International Space Station

Two resourceful astronauts and a few creative NASA engineers back on Earth turned to an unlikely instrument to save the day.

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NASA astronaut Sunita Williams and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide (out of frame), both Expedition 32 flight engineers, participate in a session of extravehicular activity Thursday Aug. 30, 2012 to continue outfitting the International Space Station.

When it comes to the care and maintenance of the International Space Station, you’d probably expect astronauts to be armed with an arsenal of expensive, high-tech tools. (And hey: they are.) But faced with a particularly dire situation this week, two resourceful astronauts and a few creative NASA engineers back on Earth turned to an unlikely instrument: a toothbrush.

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During an epic eight-hour spacewalk last week, astronauts Sunita Williams and Akihido Hoshide were tasked with replacing an electrical switching unit bolted to the outside of the station — but their efforts were thwarted, Tecca reports. They determined that the bolt socket was full of metal shavings and needed to be cleaned — something they didn’t have the proper tools for. The pair found a toothbrush and attached it to a metal pole; with that contraption and a can of compressed nitrogen, they were able to clean the bolt’s socket and complete the job.

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“Looks like you guys just fixed the station,” astronaut Jack Fischer told Williams and Hoshide from the Johnson Space Center, according to NBC News. “It’s been like living on the set of Apollo 13 the past few days. NASA does the impossible pretty darn well, so congratulations to the whole team.”

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Still, it all leaves NewsFeed with one question: how do you brush your teeth in space?

VIDEO: Robot Shakes Hand with Astronaut on International Space Station