(cliché) A phrase used to indicate a major problem; often humorously used for reporting any kind of problem.
2002 Dan Ramsey, Complete Idiot's Guide to Solar Power for Your Home By Dan Ramsey (ISBN 0028643933) page xvii.
Houston, we have a problem.
We're running out of oil! The petroleum that fuels our daily lives is getting harder to find.
Origin of houston-we-have-a-problem
The origin can be traced to the phrase in past tense ("Houston, we've had a problem here" ) that was used by the crew of the Apollo 13 moon flight, to report a major technical problem back to their Houston base. The phrase is normally misquoted as "Houston, we have a problem" as in the movie Apollo 13: "Houston, we have a problem". See Houston, We've Had a Problem (NASA).