What Is It Like to Live in Space?
Living in space has been the long-time dream of both children and adults alike. Other than astronauts, those who never went beyond the earth’s atmosphere can only dream about what it is like to go out there, in the void of space, look at the earth from up above. Many astronauts say that going to space changed them. Seeing the earth from above, realizing how small and insignificant we humans are in this universe – the realization changed many.
Besides that, being in microgravity, or even no gravity, and being surrounded by stars – the feeling is something literally out of the world.
The space suits are pressurized. Any human, when exposed to the vacuum of space, would not be able to breathe, or even be able to hold his breath. Inside the lungs, the air pressure is not balanced by anything on the outside and hence the lungs would explode in a vacuum.
To get used to the pressure in spacesuits, astronauts need to be in their spacesuit inside the pressurized cabin for a while before they go out for a spacewalk. The body takes hours to adjust to the new pressure. Once done, they can go out for spacewalks.
MAGs are what they call space diapers. MAG stands for Maximum Absorbency Garment. Astronauts do not get to take bathroom breaks every once in a while, especially when they are outside, during a spacewalk. Therefore, these space diapers are there to help the astronauts “take a leak” even during a spacewalk. MAGs can hold up to two litres of fluids.
They do have separate bathrooms. They need to be strapped down to the toilets. Using the toilet also needs proper training to avoid disasters. Toilets aboard space use a vacuum flush.
Your body in space
Nausea, vomiting, dizziness is common in microgravity. In space, astronauts lose their sense of orientation because there is no up or down, along with the absence of gravity. These symptoms generally last a few days till the body adjusts to the new environment. In space, heart rate drops drastically. This can lead to a lot of health problems. Astronauts have to exercise every day for hours to keep their heart rate up. The lack of gravity also makes astronauts taller in space.
Moreover, without gravity tears do not run down your cheeks. They just form a bubble of water in your eyes till you wipe them off. Same happens when you squeeze water off a cloth. This makes washing clothes on the ship almost impossible. They wear the same clothes as much as possible and then finally discard them without washing them.
Astronauts sleep in bags that are attached to walls of the cabin so that they would not float away during sleep. In space, snoring is reduced. People who are known to snore on earth stopped snoring when they went to space. Without gravity, natural air flow does not occur in space. So, in spacecraft, air is constantly circulated artificially. This prevents the formation of localized areas of carbon dioxide when astronauts sleep.
You cannot have loosely floating items in the cabin. This means, having a haircut would be a nightmare. In space, trimmers are paired with a vacuum tube that sucks the hair right after it is cut. The same problem is with cutting nails. There are no special nail clippers made for space.
Since astronauts do not have to walk at all, the skin on their feet softens and starts peeling. This means, when they take off socks, dead skins would spread around in the cabin. There’s no machine to take care of this and astronauts have to be careful while opening their socks.
Food in space
Food in space is an issue. You cannot have loose particles floating around. So, no sprinkling salt and pepper. These are available in liquid form in space so that the astronauts can mix them with the food without getting particles floating around the space station.
Most meals are available as packed meals and therefore, scissors are the most important tool in the space station. Astronauts do not get to have fizzy drinks because pressurized bottles would behave differently in zero gravity.
Those aboard the ISS or the international space station experiences multiple sunrises each day. The ISS orbits the earth at an altitude of 27,500 km. They see the sunrise 16 times a day. This also provides them with great photo moments.
In the ISS, astronauts can listen to music, or play games on their computers. Most indoor forms of leisure are available in space. Reading books, playing cards, or simply looking out of the window – all of these simple activities can help you unwind in space.
Landing Back on Earth
Astronauts have problems once they get back to earth. This is often known as the ‘Second Birth’. Many of them take a while to adjust to the Earth’s gravity. Even when the body adjusts, the mind takes a while to do so. Astronauts, back on earth, often drop things as they never had the issue of putting things down in place in space