This is a serious problem but not a life threatening one. There’s an almost 2 month supply of oxygen available and the station crew has the option of returning to Earth if the problem cannot be resolved.

Russian computers that control the international space station’s orientation and supply of oxygen and water have failed, potentially extending the space shuttle’s mission — or cutting it short.

Russian engineers aren’t sure why the computers stopped working. A failure of this type has never occurred before on the space station.

The station is operated primarily by the Russian and U.S. space agencies, with contributions from the Canadian, European and Japanese space agencies.

“We have plenty of resources, so we have plenty of time to sort this out,” said Mike Suffredini, NASA manager of the space station program.

Science@NASA has the scoop on the station’s life support systems.



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