Yesterday's strange news that astronauts may have been allowed to fly drunk on several shuttle launches wasn't the only good space gossip of the day. (And it certainly wasn't the best stuff of the year. That award still goes to the diaper-wearing astronaut who attacked her rival in a strange love triangle.) While deflecting questions about the boozing space travelers at a news conference intended to cover the upcoming shuttle launch, space operations chief Bill Gerstenmaier revealed that someone working for a NASA subcontractor had cut some wires in a computer that was slated to fly up on the next shuttle.
Gerstenmaier stressed that this wasn't a safety issue, and that NASA would have caught the problem if the subcontractor had not informed the agency first. Still, it's a serious issue, especially because space on the ISS is so hard to come by these days. Sending up a junked computer might not have endangered the astronauts on board, but it could have caused some logistical migraines. Add a little pre-launch boozing to the mix, and who knows what could have happened.—Gregory Mone
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.