back to article TERROR in SPACE: ISS 'Nauts end panic by switching computer off and on again

NASA has reopened sections of the International Space Station (ISS) sealed off after what has now been confirmed to be a false alarm over an ammonia leak. The US agency confirmed midday Wednesday, Pacific Time, that the crew had been cleared to reenter the American-built wing of the orbiting lab, and that no evidence of any …

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Happy

Can you believe it?

Try turning it off and on again.

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Re: Can you believe it?

Have you tried forcing an unexpected reboot?

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Happy

Re: Can you believe it?

If that doesn't work there's always the "Non-Maskable Interupt" to borrow a nice euphemism from the BOFH.

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Re: Can you believe it?

"switching computer off and on again"

It's the first thing I try when something screws up. And it usually works too.

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Re: Can you believe it?

Well, percussive maintenance usually helps too.

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Re: Can you believe it?

But then you can't charge £85 for vehicle diagnostics

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Re: Can you believe it?

Do get with it peeps, it's now called 'power cycling' a system, you heard what the man said, enough with this off and on again malarkey.

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Re: Can you believe it?

"Well, percussive maintenance usually helps too."

I believe that only works in the Russian sections of the space station...

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Re: Can you believe it?

Here we say have you done an "Initial Power Load"

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Joke

Houston, we have a problem!

"Well, before we go any farther, have you tried turning your modem off and on?"

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So

No sanctions or visa problems crossing over to the Russian section for shelter?

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Re: So

No that was only back in 2010.

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Re: So

They haven't been able to get enough concrete blocks up there yet to re-create Checkpoint Charlie.

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Pint

I wonder what it was?

It'd be interseting to know if they are prepared to speculate what flipped the relevant bit. I guess there's significant shielding, and I assume this sort of thing is quite rare.

Or is the station toilet playing up again?

Icon in case that's the root cause.

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Re: I wonder what it was?

Probably just one of those non reproducable flukes where an error message doesn't get cleared from the log because an error handler somewhere somehow didn't finish a routine properly after some fluke coincidence of factors.

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Re: I wonder what it was?

Oh.. just call it what it is... Murphy. Or use whatever is Russian for Murphy.

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Joke

Re: I wonder what it was?

Murphski?

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Go

Re: I wonder what it was?

'Мурфи' maybe. I think that a Russian reading that might give it a more Dublinesque pronunciation than the name usually gets in England.

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Re: I wonder what it was?

It's usually "zakon podlosti" aka "law of nastyness". But Murphy is also fine.

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Re: I wonder what it was?

Rare it may be, but there are a lot of high-speed sub-atomic particles zooming around outside the atmosphere. if one of those hits some other atoms where a bit is stored, you might get a change of value...

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This SO reminded me of 2001: A Space Odyssey...

...when HAL9000 "detected" a fault in the AR-35 module, requiring a space walk to fix it.....and leading to the death of Frank Poole :(

Switching off the computer in 2001 did the trick - seems it worked on the ISS as well :)

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Pint

Re: This SO reminded me of 2001: A Space Odyssey...

Hal, open the fridge door!

Ammonia,cooling geddit? Nevermind

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Re: This SO reminded me of 2001: A Space Odyssey...

"...when HAL9000 "detected" a fault in the AR-35 module,"

AE-35

Standards are slipping.

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Re: This SO reminded me of 2001: A Space Odyssey...

You *really* wouldn't want to switch that one back on though.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This SO reminded me of 2001: A Space Odyssey...

"You *really* wouldn't want to switch that one back on though."

...They did in the next movie (2010), although with the assistance of a specially trained engineer/phychologist (Dr Chandra). I wonder what the support callout fee was, all the way to Jupiter..??

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Anonymous Coward

What did you expect?

They use a Windoze O/S.

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Re: What did you expect?

No, they use Linux since 2013.

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Re: What did you expect?

Linux with a bit of wine?

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Re: What did you expect?

Laptops used by crew day to day are exclusively Linux since 2013

I have no idea what US environmental control uses, but it is not likely to be Windows. VXworks on a radiation/space rated PPC is a more likely candidate.

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Re: What did you expect?

Maybe it was an MDM (Multiplexor/Demultiplexor module) fault - these control thermal regulation, among many other things. Originally designed by Honeywell...

Honeywell brochure

but at least some have been upgraded with newer Enhanced Processor and Integrated Communications (EPIC) cards (upgrade news).

Does that make the problem an EPIC failure?

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Re: EPICS

As opposed to an

EPICS - Experimental Physics and Industrial Control System

Failure

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Re: What did you expect?

There are several RTOSs on the ISS, including eCOS and QNX. RTEMS is also frequently used in space missions.

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Anonymous Coward

This...

article pretty much sums up my 20 odd year career in IT.

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"Have you changed your filter please sir? ok...... now I need you to log off please.... and change the details to startup_domain @bt,com... the password is password"

Please to note that if we send an engineer to check your system there may be a charge of £149.

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Anonymous Coward

Wrong Leak

However the methane & Sulfur dioxide leak is real !!!! You can thank the ISS baked bean breakfast paste for that... "In space no one hears you fart"

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In space no one hears you fart

But they do see you move, what with equal and opposite reaction.

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Re: In space no one hears you fart

I can't possibly being the only one giggling like stupid right now at the thought of a space suit equipped with a tasteful little rocket nozzle in the appropriate position...

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Noses?

You'd think the astronaut's own noses would be a fairly good judge of the presence of ammonia particularly at any level approaching dangerous. Or maybe the sensors are so incredibly sensitive it would be normal for them to detect levels that the human nose cannot.

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Boffin

Re: Noses?

A person exposed to harmful amounts of ammonia will notice it immediately because of the strong, unpleasant smell; strong taste; and likely irritation to the skin, eyes, nose and throat.

Best avoided on the ISS I would have thought!

New York Department of Health

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Alien

That's what they want you to believe

So you were told to leave the room and not look for a while, then they said it's all right guys false alarm you can come back in now.

Something smells for sure.

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Bladder control

If it had been me up there the smell of ammonia would have spiked quite sharply immediately _after_ the alarm went off.

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Re: Bladder control

You may want to see a doctor about that - urine that smells of ammonia may indicate a problem.

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From experience I have noticed that a very slow ammonia buildup may go unnoticed until it reaches an uncomfortable level.

I remember arriving late at work and smelling ammonia. Nobody else in that section of the building had yet noticed it - it was a leak into a cold airstream which cooled a store. I ordered the building evacuated. As people left a phone rang from the engine room. "we think there might be an ammonia leak....."

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Mushroom

Windows?

Mus be running Windows.......

hmmm that was too easy LOL

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