HOUSTON (The Spoof) - An "unexpected" food shortage aboard the ISS has NASA concerned about the possibility of cosmic cannibalism unless a Russian supply ship docks with the station soon. The December 24 launch of the next Progress is now critical for the crew, stranded in orbit on low rations since October. It is currently due to dock with the ISS on December 26. Already facing a "Bah-Humbug" kind of Christmas season, the new revelations almost certainly assure that the holiday season will suck worst than the vacuum of space for the ISS crew. It has been widely reported that crew only has enough supplies to last a month, but insiders at NASA familiar with the degree of overstatement and underestimation common in the organization suggest that the food supply is likely already exhausted.
NASA reports that Russian cosmonaut Salizhan Sharipov and American Leroy Chiao have been asked to cut out calories equal to "three cans of Coke" from their daily total caloric intake. But Russian officials have accused the previous crew of overeating during their 6-month mission earlier this year, leaving a deficit of meat and milk and a surplus of prunes and lima beans. Furthermore, they suggest that the equivalent of three cans of Coke is what the crew has remaining until the supply ship arrives.
Sharipov, the Russian cosmonaut, has already barricaded himself in the Soyuz capsule docked at the station and spoke exclusively with The Spoof about the conditions on-board the space station. "This place was a freaking mess when we got here. There was trash and dirty underwear stuffed in all the closets. And you can't imagine the stench. We suspected something was wrong when the previous crew had form-fitting uniforms and we didn't. And if that's not bad enough, I'm constantly a little woozy because the oxygen generator only works on Tuesdays and Thursdays." Sharipov trailed off after briefly losing consciousness, still gripping a sharpened popsicle stick he'd fashioned into a shiv.
NASA officials said their situation was not so different from being cut off on earth and the lives of the crew were not at risk. "If you get snowed in, you're going to make do," said Jim Newman, director of NASA's Human Space Flight Program in Russia from the comforts of his plush, oxygen-rich hotel room. A recent survey of people commonly snowed in for 6-8 weeks at a time reveals that the Inuit of northern Canada generally fare the best, while American and Russian urban dwellers typically last only 3-5 days before "cabin fever" sets in and people start getting hurt.
The oxygen deprived American astronaut Chiao had a different perspective on the situation. "Of course, people anticipating being snowed in can just run out and get supplies beforehand; they don't have to depend on the leftovers from a previous crew," remarked a glassy-eyed Chiao, holding an iron rod and the last Pop Tart in space. "Tomorrow….I will have meat!" Chiao glared menacingly at the hatch leading to the Soyuz escape capsule. The capsule is expected to be a potential flashpoint for the Russian and American crewmen. If they do not receive fresh supplies by late December, the crew would have to evacuate the station and return to earth on the Soyuz capsule currently docked there.
Sharipov holds the high ground in the latest ISS crew standoff since he currently occupies the only way off the ship. However, Chiao is in a good bargining position with Pop Tart in hand. It is widely anticipated that he intends to use the Pop Tart to lure Sharipov out of the capsule, most likely in order to subdue him with the iron bar and possibly prepare him for consumption over the next three weeks. Outside observers question if actions of the ISS crew are driven more by hunger or oxygen deprivation. NASA called for an immediate inventory of oxygen levels on the station and will review the findings sometime in January.
In a related story, ABC is currently in negotiations with NASA to provide continuous coverage of the next three weeks on the ISS in a new reality show to be called International Space Station Survivor (ISSS). This show is just the latest in a series of collaborative efforts between Washington and Hollywood designed to generate revenue and offset a steadily increasing budget deficit. Plans for a reality show hosted by Donald Rumsfeld entitled, Unarmored Humvee have been shelved, at least temporarily, after Rumsfeld was recently outmaneuvered by a contestant. "Rumsfeld is about one bad press conference away from being Soylent Green. The test audiences obviously didn't receive the pilot episode very well, so we're moving ahead with another reality show with potentially wider appeal," an unnamed ABC spokesman said Friday. Dude, Where's My Social Security? is slated to start in the spring.