The $100 billion International Space Station has been saved from a power outage by the use of a $3 toothbrush to clean debris and allow a new power unit to be fitted.

"The muck in 'ere!" said astronaut Akihido Hoshide as he scrubbed the faulty panel. "It's like living with students."

NASA are thought to be planning to send a 'Lady Who Does' astronaut to make sure the Space Station is spic and span, despite accusations of sexism, misogyny and more sexism. The space people were trying to replace a faulty main bus switching unit (MBSU), one of four that provide the station with power from their solar arrays so they can keep their wine chilled and power the sunbed.

"First up, the lights flickered. Next, the cable stopped working, right in the middle of Glee," said Hoshide. "I tried banging the top of the TV, but nothing worked."

Clever boffins located the problem with the MBSU, but when Hoshide and fellow astronaut Sunita Williams tried to replace it, debris inside stopped them from being able to bolt it in. Fortunately, Hoshide had brought a toothbrush, in case he got lucky.

"If my mom had seen the mess in there, she would have grounded me," said Hoshide. NASA are currently looking into whether Hoshide's mum could be sent into space to make sure the astronauts keep their space station tidy. Other advantages would include insurance that the astronauts are washing behind their ears, going to bed at a sensible hour and wearing nice warm vests, especially when going outside in the cold, dark abyss of space.

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