40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in Space

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceArtificiality to Stay Sane

Some Earthlings foster the dream of going to space someday. With thoughts of the vast beyond in their heads, many potential astronauts set off on their course. However, life above the clouds isn’t simple, to say the least. We’ve seen some historic moments and heard conspiracy theories about odd things astronauts see in space, but we don’t usually talk about details of what life is like aboard the ISS — until now.

Rehearsing the Walk

Spacewalking seems extremely cool and glamorous from far away, and in all honesty, it is. Astronauts often term EVAs — short for Extravehicular Activities (or spacewalks) — as some of the most memorable moments of their visit to space.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceRehearsing the Walk

However, spacewalks are as dangerous as they are exciting. Even before entering the ISS, space workers must practice on a life-size model under a huge tank of water. You can’t simply throw your spacesuit on and take a walk outside once you’re on board. Even something as minor as suiting up requires a 100-page checklist!

It Feels Like Vacuum Cleaner

Sleeping isn’t the easiest of tasks in space. Some astronauts attempt floating free during that time but it’s tricky as they might end up crashing into air vents or other machinery. The majority of the space travelers choose to curl up into their sleeping bags and mount themselves into a sleeping nook.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceIt Feels Like Vacuum Cleaner

This doesn’t ensure a peaceful sleep, though. As warm air doesn’t rise there, exhaled breath simply bubbles close to their face. The noise coupled with the cold has astronauts feeling like they’re living inside a vacuum cleaner.

Velcro and Scissors

The food up in space has to live through the rigors of traveling to it. There can’t be any spills or it will clog instruments. The very first astronauts had to drink their food through tubes filled with pureed fruit, meat, and veggies — not the tastiest.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceVelcro and Scissors

After some time, NASA brought out dehydrated and freeze-dried meals plastic-sealed to perfection. The hardest part is still eating. Velcro, straps, and tethered tools cover the tables on the ISS to prevent the room from turning into a slow-mo food fight.

No Time for Romance

Astronauts live and work within close proximity of each other, perfectly setting up the premise for a new romance to bloom. A newly married couple, Jan Davis and Mark Lee, even flew together. NASA prohibits that now. Astronauts vouch that theres absolutely no time for getting cozy in space.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceNo Time for Romance

Plus, knowing space, it would be quite difficult since people would keep flying apart, or the blood flow would decrease. In addition, the lack of privacy would be pretty off-putting.

Everyone Gets Personalized Nozzles

Astronauts’ excreta have to go somewhere. Early Moon missions utilized tubes, diapers, and bags to collect human waste, but that wasn’t ideal. To this day, the toilet on the ISS is a piece of delicate and pricey machinery. A personal nozzle is attached to a suction pipe that sucks the urine away before turning it back into the water for the astronauts to use.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceEveryone Gets Personalized Nozzles

Number-two is trickier and asks for special camera-assisted training, sometimes hand-packing feces if they’re unlucky. The poop is launched on a course and burns up in Earth’s atmosphere.

Personal Hygiene Issues

Hygiene might not be the first thing to pop into your head when heroic spacemen are mentioned. Still, it’s yucky to imagine a bunch of people living in congested spaces for an extended period without worrying about their personal hygiene.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpacePersonal Hygiene Issues

Showers are out of the picture as the environment is weightless. Every astronaut carries a special hygiene kit consisting of a comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, and other grooming stuff. This kit can be fixed to walls, lockers, and similar fixtures. They use a special rinse-free shampoo and wash themselves with body sponges.

Voting Is a Must

A 1997 rule proclaimed that a person that meets the eligibility criteria under Texas’s Election Code can vote even if theyll be flying to space during the primary voting period or on Election Day.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceVoting Is a Must

This law falls under the jurisdiction of Texas as that’s where many astronauts live — where the Johnson Space Center is located. Mission Control transmits an encrypted e-ballot to every astronaut before Election Day. Astronauts access the ballots through a code from a protected email. They can then send their vote straight to the Country Clerk’s office.

Water From Weird Places

This is one of the first things someone hears when they research life up in the ISS. Despite the plentiful food up there, the supply of water is limited, forcing astronauts to get creative to keep a steady flow of H2O.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceWater From Weird Places

When the water taken from Earth is emptied out and the soaring price of resupplies continues to be an issue, astronauts must capture their wastewater. Now, that can be urine, shower runoff, sweat, or moisture from their breath. The closed-loop system onboard helps them filter out contaminants and impurities.

Zero-Gravity Fitness Routines

The effects of zero gravity on one’s body can be quite destructive, and astronauts realize that shortly after going up to the ISS. Moving around the ISS is close to effortless for the astronauts, but this can also cause bone and muscle loss or atrophy during their visits to space.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceZero-Gravity Fitness Routines

To prevent themselves from turning into a lump of mush, astronauts are required to adhere to a strict workout schedule. They must exercise two hours a day from a few available options — including an exercise bike, treadmill, a space version of weightlifting, and more.

Space Blindness Is Real

In 2016, phys.org reported that over 60% of astronauts experience space blindness after spending multiple months in the ISS. This condition, also known as Space-Associated Neuro-Ocular Syndrome (or SANS), varies in degree depending on the crew member.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceSpace Blindness Is Real

NASA has been unable to figure out the exact reason behind such a condition but research suggests a multitude of factors — such as inflammation, elevated pressure in the head, excess levels of carbon dioxide, genetics, radiation, and B vitamin status. Scientists also believe the amount of time spent in space contributes to this.

Spicy Foods Are Fan-Favorites

Owing to the awkward bodily shift and lack of gravity in space, astronauts’ taste buds change as well. Many claim that everything tastes bland. Fortunately, NASA scientists have found a way to retain astronauts taste buds whilst providing tasty meals.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceSpicy Foods Are Fan-Favorites

Salt and pepper are provided in liquid versions because the granularity of the regular spices would be a problem. Spicy foods cater to their taste better, so chili sauces have grown in popularity over the years. Skylab, the first United States space station, also allowed scientists to bring ice cream along.

Little Objects Snuck In

Astronauts and their belongings are thoroughly examined before they board their flights, but this hasn’t been able to prevent the occasional smuggler from bringing along some “illicit” goods. John Young, a Project Gemini astronaut, once brought along a corned beef sandwich from the deli by the launch pad.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceLittle Objects Snuck In

Sadly, he couldn’t finish it since it was forming too many crumbs. Alan Shephard brought a makeshift six-iron when he went on the Apollo 14 mission and successfully pursued some golfing on the moon.

Floating Around Isn’t Fun

As “freeing” as it might seem, floating around in space isn’t as fun as youd expect. Human bodies are designed to adjust to an upright world, which isn’t what zero gravity has in mind. The moment an astronaut first enters the zero-g orbit, their head fills with fluids.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceFloating Around Isn’t Fun

Most space travelers experience extreme nausea, headaches, and the urge to urinate. Even after they get more accustomed to it, floating isn’t that graceful in real life. Humans tend to curl up into a ball in zero-g, a pose termed “the simian hunch.”

Hours of Preparation

As mentioned before, it takes hours for an astronaut to prepare for a spacewalk — all the adjusting to ensure that theyre getting enough oxygen supply and that the pressure isn’t too high. All of this requires 1hours of meticulous checking and correcting. During that time, they breathe pure oxygen.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceHours of Preparation

Space travelers have said that it will take them anywhere from two to four hours to get ready and multiple members of the crew are totally occupied with the nitty-gritty of the walk.

A Sunrise Per 90 Minutes

The International Space Station has an orbital speed of 17,100 mph (or 27,600 kph). This means astronauts living aboard the ISS see the sun rising and setting once every 90 minutes. Interestingly enough, even after this, their clock follows the UTC and its just a regular nine-to-five job to them.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceA Sunrise Per 90 Minutes

This method is used to maintain the productivity and overall well-being of the astronauts. Imagine being able to see multiple sunsets and sunrises while finishing your paperwork.

Sleep Next to the Fan

As if sleeping wasn’t hard enough with the shortage of space or zero-gravity keeping everything floating, there’s the problem of warm air. Warm air doesn’t dissipate in the ISS, and good ventilation is a must for sleep for any human.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceSleep Next to the Fan

The warm breath forms carbon dioxide bubbles, which then stay near the astronauts’ faces. If not removed, they would run out of breathable oxygen within minutes. Sleeping next to a fan ensures the passage of cold air at all times.

Heart Gets a Break

Thanks to the low gravity in space, the heart doesn’t have to put so much effort into pumping blood as it would have to while on Earth. Sure, your heart gets a break from all the intense pumping it used to do on a daily basis, but this also brings its own set of curses.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceHeart Gets a Break

The lower requirement of pumping gradually makes the heart weaker, so the astronauts must put in extra efforts while working out every day to keep themselves in shape.

They Drop It

Astronauts live in a space in which they don’t have to worry about dropping or breaking anything. They can simply leave something hanging and expect it to keep floating till someone else grabs ahold of it. Habits made on the ISS are hard to get over, and even after returning home to the ground, some forget that gravity is a real thing and that they can’t just expect things to float.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceThey Drop It

Many astronauts report that they tend to drop things here and there because they keep forgetting that their days of zero gravity have passed them by.

Space Sickness Is Common

Almost every astronaut experiences some form of space sickness. Apart from the usual wave of nausea, headaches, and trouble finding where their limbs are, astronauts simply feel confused. It’s like being in an inebriated state without consuming anything.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceSpace Sickness Is Common

A human’s spatial orientation — how our brain and eyes tell us everything — generally relies on gravity. Without it, our brain fails to make sense of the situation. Coupled with the changes in the body adding confusion, this state is called “Space Adaptation Syndrome” and tends to last anywhere between two to four days.

Growing in Space

We have only talked about the downsides of being in zero gravity till now. However, theres one “benefit” if you’d like to think of it like that. For the shorter people, space presents a unique way of gaining height.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceGrowing in Space

In zero-g, the spine gets decompressed due to lack of gravitational force, causing most of the astronauts to grow about an inch or two. Comparing the spine to a spring, NASA assumes every astronaut grows approximately three percent in space.

Goodbye to Snoring

Do you know what you should do to fix your significant others snoring problem, so your beauty sleep isnt ruined each and every night? Just send them to space. No, really!

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceGoodbye to Snoring

A study in 2001 showed that astronauts who used to snore on Earth didn’t have the same tendency in space. In short, they snoozed silently, providing peace to everyone around them. Though you dont have to do something so drastic, its still peaceful to imagine.

Good Morning Music

The morning needs to start off on the right foot to prepare us for the day. For astronauts, that’s usually monotonous yet complex work. On the space shuttle, at the beginning of each workday, mission control in Houston plays wake-up music, typically chosen with a specific astronaut in mind.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceGood Morning Music

Sadly, for the all-work, no-play part of the spectrum, astronauts working on the International Space Station wake up to an alarm clock. The discrimination is rather sad, but they can always play music after waking up by themselves.

Lost and Found

Earth has simple lost-and-found boxes — mostly cardboard boxes filled with things people have forgotten or misplaced over time. Space has something similar, but it’s much more high-tech. Astronauts who lose something make sure to check the vents on the International Space Station and space shuttle, as they serve as the lost and found up there.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceLost and Found

The air vents cleverly suck up anything floating unsecured and keep them attached. All astronauts have to do is take one good look to locate their things.

The Shuttle Commode

Eating and sleeping aren’t easy tasks in space, so it would be foolish to think going to the bathroom would be. The shuttle commode has a very precise working mechanism. The astronaut must align themselves right in the exact center of the seat.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceThe Shuttle Commode

To train themselves before a space mission, astronauts use a mock-up of that toilet — complete with a built-in camera — during their time on Earth. If they’re running short on luck, they might have to scoop it up by hand and collect it to later put on a course for burning.

Your Feet Go Through It

Fun fact — your feet shed in outer space. ScienceAlert.com says that astronauts tend to shed a layer of skin on their feet as there’s little to no contact between the ground and one’s feet.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceYour Feet Go Through It

Right now, you’re touching many different surfaces. Astronauts are floating everywhere in space instead of letting their feet do the walking; they don’t need to wear shoes either. NASA astronaut Scott Kelly talked even revealed that his feet still hurt months after his mission ended.

Demonic Little Things

Microbes, mold, fungi, and bacteria are matters of major concern in space. Large enough growths are powerful enough to damage delicate machinery and pose health hazards, regardless of how perfectly the shuttles are disinfected before blastoff.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceDemonic Little Things

Somehow, these demonic critters find a way to sneak in. Once in the orbit, the microbes develop in moisture, eventually condensing into free-floating globules of polluted water. They can grow to be the size of a basketball and can degrade stainless steel as well. In short, they’re terrible for the space station and crew.

Squashed Eyeballs in Zero-G

Lack of gravity squashes space travelers’ eyeballs, making their vision blurry. Some astronauts experience swelling of optic nerves, while the backs of some space goers eyes flatten. The body fluids persist higher than natural without gravity’s downward pull, so there’s more fluid pressing against the eyes in the skull.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceSquashed Eyeballs in Zero-G

This effect technically blurs out the majoritys vision, but the nearsighted would actually face a boost in vision. They would have to treat this problem immediately as it can cause blindness in the long run.

Clothing Changes Every Three Days

The spacesuit is undoubtedly the most famous of the space clothing. Its available in a bunch of sizes, shapes, and colors, usually weighing about 270 pounds in regular gravity. It takes almost 45 minutes to put it on, making it way too cumbersome.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceClothing Changes Every Three Days

Astronauts take the help of special Lower Torso Assembly Donning Handles to fit into the lower part, but what about regular clothing? With few needs to go outside, astronauts wear disposable clothes that can be discarded every three days.

You Can’t Burp Carbonated Beverages

Zero gravity also means the absence of buoyant force, and that means no forcing gas bubbles out of the carbonated drinks in orbit. Due to this, carbon dioxide bubbles basically stagnate inside astronauts’ sodas or carbonated beverages, even when they’ve traveled inside their bellies.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceYou Can’t Burp Carbonated Beverages

Without gravity, space travelers can’t burp out the gas, creating an overly uncomfortable situation every time one would drink a carbonated beverage. Companies and brands are trying to develop brews that will be rich in flavor but low in carbonation for space purposes.

Tales of Flatulence

Flatulence can be embarrassing in enclosed spaces, but it’s actually life-threatening in space. There’s much more to flatulence than the bad odor. It produces a significant amount of hydrogen and methane, two highly flammable gases.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceTales of Flatulence

The food consumed by astronauts in the ISS is very different from what we eat down here, though food taken by early astronauts was found to result in serious gas. This caused a major issue — to the extent that their flatulence turned into a real explosion risk.

Potential Brain Damage

Astronauts develop resistance to psychological pressure. Space agencies make sure that their chosen candidates are able to withstand the immense mental pressure and won’t go ballistic during the missions. With that said, living in space has other harms. Space itself may cause severe issues for people who live there for a prolonged time.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpacePotential Brain Damage

The issue here is cosmic radiation — the universe’s background radiation that makes space somewhat of an incredibly low-intensity microwave oven. With every passing day, an astronaut is affected by this. Among other conditions, this might contribute to Alzheimer’s.

Dangers of Space Debris

Space debris can be compared to a speedy truck down a highway that’s coming straight for you. Instead of a driver perfectly capable of pulling the brakes, though, space debris remains steady on its natural course unless it crashes against something else first.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceDangers of Space Debris

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly shared multiple incidents in which they had to move the space station to avoid collision with space debris. However, one time, it was too late and they had to seek shelter in the Soyuz capsule.

Seasons Are Changing

Despite being hundreds of thousands of miles away from the Earth, astronauts can still detect when the seasons are changing. Kelly shared their way of knowing change was coming while he was aboard the ISS. Whenever the aurora in the north got stronger, they knew a season was exiting while another was entering.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceSeasons Are Changing

NASA captures images in large landscapes from up there, which help people down here understand what sort of natural variations each season brings.

Dial-Up Internet Connection

When was the last time you heard about a dial-up connection? If you’re a Gen-Zer, especially someone born after 2002, there’s a good chance you’ve come across this term once or twice in books but never experienced it firsthand.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceDial-Up Internet Connection

Dial-up connections decode audio signals to data using models and send them to a computer or router, and signals are later encoded from the latter two devices before sending to another modem. This is how astronauts connect to the internet — well if they can recall their login information, that is.

Flames Are Spheres

Flames rise on Earth. They move outward from the source in space. The reason behind this is the difference in atmospheric pressure between space and Earth; anything more than a height of an inch is more than enough to alter the shape of a candle flame.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceFlames Are Spheres

This difference creates an effect known as natural convection. Without gravity, the expanding hot air near the candle faces equal resistance in every direction, causing it to move outward in a spherical motion from its source, and you get a round flame. It’s pretty cute.

Limpness of Limbs

Although astronauts’ body proportions become rather cartoonish, almost like Superman in space, microgravity does nothing to make us stronger. Unfortunately, it’s the opposite. Space eliminates the need to use our muscles daily, removing any need for lifting or moving things around.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceLimpness of Limbs

The lack of any sort of muscular activity in the zero-g orbit soon causes muscular atrophy. Over time, the spine and bones grow weaker. Upon returning to Earth, many space travelers have reported that they can’t hold even the lightest of things, as their limbs become too limp.

Plenty of Food Options

Space travelers may be having much more diversified meals than you. Sure, most of them are dried and might not replicate the texture we crave down here, but the variety is still impressive. Andrew Morgan, a NASA astronaut commented that every one of the international partners associated with the ISS provides astronauts with their own food supplies when they’re sent up.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpacePlenty of Food Options

These usually include dehydrated snacks as well as other packaged and thermo-stabilized food items that can be shared with the crew. Sharing is caring!

Sunsets and Sunrises

Want to take the most aesthetic sunset or sunrise pictures that will make you an instant viral success? Go up to the ISS — the view is unbeatable. Some places on Earth boast a few of the most ethereal sunrises and sunsets imaginable, but it still doesn’t hold a candle to what astronauts see up there.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceSunsets and Sunrises

On top of that, while we get to see one of each per day, they get to see 166 sunrises and sunsets a day in a 24-hour time span as they orbit the Earth.

Harmful Sides of Weightlessness

You thought headaches and nausea were the last of the astronauts’ troubles? Too bad they have to deal with way more. Fluids go upward in weightlessness, causing a puffy face along with the usual, annoying nasal congestion.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceHarmful Sides of Weightlessness

Bones tend to lose calcium, muscles begin to waste away, kidney stones can form, the heart can shrink, and bowels slow down — these are only some of the physical conditions most of our brave space travelers face. The ISS doesn’t sound as glamorous now, does it?

Artificiality to Stay Sane

Astronauts on the International Space Station experience 15 dawns within 24 hours, so normal time schedules of the sun rising and setting don’t work in space. While it may only seem normal to make of a day what you wish it to be like, human bodies are chained to their biological rhythms.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceArtificiality to Stay Sane

We need 24 hours a day. Astronauts would become permanently disoriented and sluggish without the help of external factors. The conditions are closely controlled by lights and alarms so astronauts can go to sleep and wake up normally.

Lots of Space Movies

A favorite pastime of astronauts in space is to watch movies. The station stocks a wide array of videos including films of various genres — like comedies, fantasies, rom-coms, and much more. However, according to reports, movies based on government lawbreakers are missing.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceLots of Space Movies

There is an abundance of films on space and astronauts love to debate on which sci-fi is the best. Dr. Kjell Lindgren and Scott Kelly recommend Apollo 13 for its characters, as well as Gravity for its realistic portrayal of the ISS.
Fruits and Boosting Morale

Fruits and Boosting Morale

Living in a tiny, cramped space every day can start to get incredibly monotonous after a few months, even when you’re literally floating in space. To keep the environment light, astronauts gather and try to make the best of their time.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceFruits and Boosting Morale

With every new arrival, fresh fruit is given to the International Space Station for the whole team to unpack and enjoy. Although the gathering of astronauts and cosmonauts is hard, ISS prioritizes it. Group meals and watching movies have been successful in creating bonds and lifting spirits.

Disposable Clothes Only

The simplest tasks like brushing one’s teeth turn into a lengthy process in zero-gravity. After fishing for the toothpaste and toothbrush, astronauts must maintain care while spraying water on the brush, and make sure they squirt the correct amount of toothpaste so it doesn’t go flying everywhere.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceDisposable Clothes Only

After completion, there’s no place to spit, forcing them to swallow. There’s no shower in the new ISS and astronauts must resort to wet towels for scrubbing. There’s an absence of washing machines so the clothes are frequently made to be disposable.

Social Media and Communication

Since the 1980s, astronauts have been communicating with Earth through video calls, and the calls are a regular part of the routine to this day. They are meant to be entertaining and inspiring sessions for kids and TV viewers around the world.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceSocial Media and Communication

Presently, the ARISS program allows radio enthusiasts to build a direct connection with the astronauts on the ISS. Twitter and similar social media platforms have helped to create a more casual approach to this entire communication process.

Learning Space Photography

After a usual 11-hour day aboard the ISS, astronauts get to spend some time relaxing and entertaining themselves. Many of them read, others use the internet, and some call their loved ones back on Earth. You might also be able to find someone whipping up a pizza.

40+ Weird Details About Astronauts Everyday Lives in SpaceLearning Space Photography

Occasionally, the astronauts will take out their camera and head for an open cupola to get some stunning views of planet Earth below. Long lenses on the ISS are powerful enough to pick up objects as tiny as road vehicles.

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