TODAY   |  December 21, 2013

What happens when you lose a tool in space?

“I’ve never lost a tool but it’s because I worried about it the entire time,” said former NASA astronaut Steve Robinson, who has logged 48 days in space. He said tools are attached to strings, but losing a tool could be a catastrophe.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> that is literally out of this world.

>>> first, this is "today" on nbc.

>>> we are back with the latest now from the international space station . this is a live look. nasa providing it with the astronauts making those emergency repairs to the cool system and been at it about an hour and a half.

>> nasa astronaut stephen robertson has been joining us. we want to get to some of the questions that people are asking. phil wants to know, have you ever lost a tool or has it ever floated away while performing work on space on or about a space repair?

>> what is something you don't want to do. when you're on the ground and working on a car and you drop a tool you know where to look. you look toward your feet. in space, it can go anywhere. in space the tools have a string attached. i never lost a tool because i worried about it the entire im time.

>> just like in the movie "gravity."

>> it would come back to you?

>> if they are attached.

>> but swing back around in the orbit if not?

>> no, it goes into its own orbit then we have to do some calculus.

>> you lost me there on calculus. kathy asks what was your worst case scenario to repair?

>> worst and best is kind of the same thing. it was a very unusual experience. you may remember a few years ago for the space shuttle "discovery" a problem with the shield. i went on the robot arm like rick is today. i went on the robot arm for the first time under the belly of a space station to do a manual hand repair of the heat shield .

>> yeah, this was after. this was a return to earth mission right after the "columbia" shuttle explosion so a lot of people were glued watching that as well.

>> i didn't know that until i got back so i'm glad i didn't know.

>> thank goodness for that. ar erin wants to know how often do you get to sleep?

>> sometimes not enough. you're so busy all the time and so much haepg. everything you got up there is brand-new serial number one so stuff doesn't exact work right so you're busy fixing thing. that is the entire reason for the space station to do scientific research . when you do get time off, i thought the coolest thing up there was a guitar is up there and so i got to play guitar in the big window there.

>> 15 seconds. natalie has one more question.

>> what do you do if have you to go to the bathroom when you're on a space walk ?

>> you float off into space?

>> no, no, no. you're locked in that suit. every day. there is a system but you don't need it. it's real dry up there and mostly you get thirsty.

>> really?

>> yes.

>> fascinating stuff. i could talk to you all morning along.

>> steve, great to have you