Astronauts’ life on the International Space Station (ISS) is completely different from our everyday lives, as minor activities such as taking a shower or going to the toilet can sometimes reach epic proportions in a zero gravity environment.
ISS commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore wanted to be more specific an told us how the ‘brown trout’ can escape the throne while you do your ‘business’ so that you need a wet wipe to capture it and put it where it is supposed to go.
And sitting on the space station toilet is not an easy task either. Crew members need handles and other artifices to stay in the right position. There is also a hose device that collects urine directly from the body, while solid waste is placed into a plastic bag. Urine is often recycled and some crew members drink it.
Having a meal on the space station is not easy, too. All food is pre-made, prepackaged, and the only ‘cooking’ operation is heating the food in a machine that has springs to hold the food in one place.
Most of food is dehydrated because it is easier to be ferried to the space station than the military-like ready to eat dishes. Plus, salt and pepper come in liquid state. Wilmore explained that the ‘right condiments’ help astronauts eat just about anything.
Meals are attentively portioned so that astronauts do not get fat but they don’t lose weight either. If you lose weight in zero gravity you can later have problems with damaged bones and muscles and even develop heart disease or other conditions.
ISS members also take vitamin D pills because they don’t get very much sunlight on the orbital laboratory and they need to drink plenty of water because the air on the ISS is very dry.
Since 2009, U.S. astronauts had the idea to recycle urine, shower runoff, and condensation from breathing and sweat to provide drinking water. The Russians refused to drink water from recycled urine but they agreed on recycling condensation. To ferry 500 ml of water to space costs about $10,000, so they need to save every single droplet.
“It is the best water I have ever tasted. It’s fantastic,”
Wilmore said about the recycled water.
Because of zero gravity astronauts also need to workout every day to prevent their bones and muscles from becoming frail. If they do not workout they may lose balance, strength, agility, and coordination. Bone loss in space is the equivalent of spending six months in bed. Without proper workouts astronauts can also lose 10 percent of their muscles strength over half a year.
Image Source: Wikimedia
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