NASA is an incredibly inventive organization, they had Safe Mode for their computers in space way before Bill Gates decided to annoy us all with his Windows software. NASA are also the folks that designed the little robotic rovers to explore Mars, those little critters are still roving three years later. That makes them more reliable and robust than the average product being turned out from Detroit!

In true MacGyver form, the members on the ill fated Apollo 13 mission created a CO2 scrubber using household objects, including Duct Tape! Yes folks, no mission would be complete without a couple of rolls of Duct Tape.

In case of a computer meltdown there are usually a couple of HP calculators, and more recently, some IBM ThinkPad’s laying around!

One of NASA’s missions is to try and come up with canned solutions for whatever problem could possibly occur. A direct result of this is that NASA has a lot of manuals!

In the light of the recent Shuttle Astronaut goes wild  story, I thought that The Smoking Gun did a fine job of digging up the NASA manual on what to do if your fellow space traveler decides that today is the day for a little mental meltdown!

In true MacGyver style the main props required are Duct Tape and Bungee cords. Once you have the unhinged spaceman disabled, and presumably Bungeed to a suitable wall. you can then move on to part two. This involves the administration of a really good shot of the tranquilizer Haldol, if this doesn’t do the business; NASA recommends a follow up shot of Valium.

What the document does not explain, and to me at least, what seems like a little bit of an issue, is how you persuade the axe wielding mad man to stand still long enough to Duct Tape and Bungee cord him! I guess that part is in a different manual.

I could just imagine the radio traffic:

ISS: Uh Houston we have a problem; Simon has lost it, and is wrecking the Space Station with a large fire axe!

Mission Control: We copy you, use procedure 34-076-01, and get the Duct Tape and Bungee Cords out.

ISS: Uh Houston, how do I get past the Fire Axe, he looks pretty determined.

Mission Control: Copy that, we are setting up a conference call with Kennedy, Pasadena, and some guy named Joe who runs a Kung Foo school in Iowa.

And to think that as a kid I wanted to be a spaceman!

Simon Barrett

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