Information About Astronauts Living in Space that Will Amaze You
Today, space exploration races forward at a pace never seen before, and still, the public knows very little information about astronauts and their work environment. We’ve decided to cast some light on this subject and list some facts about astronauts and space travel you may never heard before. Let’s get started!
Facts About Astronauts From Around the World
The term astronaut comes from Greek and roughly translates as ‘star sailor.’ However, this is not the only name for this profession, as in Russia, they are called cosmonauts (universe sailors), and in Germany — Raumfahrer, or space driver.
One piece of information about astronauts most people know is that the first person in space was a Soviet Yuri Gagarin, who went to orbit on April 12, 1961. Up till today, this date is officially celebrated as Cosmonautics Day. Interestingly, the USSR also became the first country to send a woman, Valentina Tereshkova, to space in 1969. And, even though 69 more women have gone to space since then, this profession is still mostly dominated by men — possibly, because astronauts have to undergo such rigorous training. But how do astronauts train
Facts About Astronaut Training
To become an astronaut, people must go through a series of physical and psychological tests very few can pass. According to NASA’s official information, less than 1% of all applicants are admitted as candidates. But even this is only the beginning of an astronaut training process that takes around two years and has a few unpleasant surprises for astronaut candidates.
Perhaps, one of the most unpleasant surprises is NASA’s so-called Vomit Comet — a modified KC-135 aircraft that can simulate weightlessness at intervals of 20-25 seconds. This puts an enormous strain on one’s body and builds up nausea.
Another curious piece of information about astronaut training is that preparation for future spacewalks happens underwater as the closest environment to simulate weightlessness.
Next, any astronauts who want to work on the International Space Station must learn Russian since many of its crew members come from this country. And while we’re on the topic of Russia, you may be surprised to know that between 1986 and 2007, a shotgun was a standard unit in the Russian astronaut corps. Curious information, right? This is not a mere formality as sometimes a capsule would land in a desert, so its crew was expected to protect themselves from a potential animal attack.
Facts About Astronauts Living in Space
Space magazine Orbital Today has listed plenty of information about astronauts living in space, but here we will give you only a quick overview of the most surprising facts.
So, what do astronauts do daily? First, they exercise a lot because, in weightlessness, muscles deteriorate, and it is important to go to space gym every day. Weightlessness with objects freely floating around does have another psychological side effect. Often, when astronauts return to Earth, they are prone to dropping all sorts of objects, forgetting the inevitable gravity pull at home.
Then, quite a lot of habitual processes we take for granted on Earth are somewhat different in space. For example, an astronaut must get into a sleeping bag, attached either vertically or horizontally to a wall, and zip themselves in to get some sleep. The good bit of information is that snoring is impossible in space, so while crew members may be hanging on walls when asleep, at least they will not wake their fellow shipmates with any unwelcome noise.
Showering, too, is not what we’re used to. Astronauts can use a spacious cabin that prevents water from scattering all over the ship. However, since fresh water is such a limited space resource, crew members often use a wet sponge. But, there is an upside — all toothpaste the astronauts are equipped with is edible because there is no room for spitting the paste out.
What about going to the toilet? Here, the matter is somewhat different, too. First, separating liquid from solid waste is very important because liquids can later be cleaned and reused. But the most interesting piece of information about astronaut toilet habits is that our bladder gets somewhat ‘confused’ in space. Instead of sending the signal to get rid of the liquid when third-full, as it happens on Earth, in space, the bladder only sounds an alarm when almost full. So, all astronauts are trained to use a privy every two hours.
As for astronauts’ food facts, most people know that all food comes in paste form from tubes. Even salt and pepper are turned into paste!
What is interesting about being an astronaut, besides the things we already covered? Plenty, to be sure — from being a part of a highly selective elite force to observing the Earth from above. And, of course, most people must get a sense of adventure.
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