Top 20 things you didn’t know about life in zero gravity on the space station…

In 2021, Thomas Pesquet went into space for the second time aboard the International Space Station. On this occasion, we gave you a little update on the life of Thomas Pesquet, but this time we are going to tell you about what is happening in this large station in orbit around the Earth. Because, inevitably, living in space is not exactly the same thing as moving about in your living room in slippers. There are rules to follow, the days don’t have the same length, and weightlessness makes everything a little more complicated than on solid ground. Here are a few things to know if one day you want to drop by unexpectedly on the ISS.

1. Astronauts have to swallow their toothpaste

On board the ISS, there is no gravity. That, a priori, you already know. And who says weightlessness says that everything can float and go in all directions if we are not careful. As a result, even brushing your teeth becomes complicated since astronauts cannot spit at the risk of spilling it everywhere. For this, NASA has found a solution: the members of the ISS brush their teeth with their mouths closed and swallow the toothpaste once they have finished. But unlike our toothpaste, theirs is edible. Well yeah, we’re not going to force them to swallow something that’s going to give them an excruciating bellyache. We are not barbarians either.

2. To go to the toilet, you have to fasten your seatbelt

So ok, we don’t want to see toothpaste flying all over the ISS, but there is still worse: droppings floating in all directions. Because yes, astronauts also have basic needs. It was therefore necessary to find a toilet system that would prevent the orbital station from being transformed into a giant pigsty. For this, the ISS toilet flush has been replaced by a tube that sucks everything, and the astronauts must strap themselves in to avoid floating while they relieve themselves. They even take classes on Earth to learn how to use it all. And then afterwards, all their solid waste is compacted so that it doesn’t take up too much space.

3. Perspiration is also recycled

But fortunately, to collect it, the astronauts do not need to scrape their sweat and put it in small sachets, no. It is the ventilation of the station which is responsible for sucking up the perspiration to collect and recycle it. Otherwise it would be really bad at the same time.

4. They clean without rinsing

Now you have understood that showering is impossible in space. Instead, clean with wipes or a no-rinse cleaning solution. And for the hair it’s exactly the same: the shampoo does not need to be eliminated by water. It immediately gives less desire to sing.

5. They wear the same clothes until they get too dirty.

In space, there’s no washing machine, nor enough room to store dirty things. The solution is therefore to adopt the lifestyle of someone who would be very rich and very filthy: astronauts wear the same clothes as long as possible, and when they really smell like death, they throw them in the trash compactor . The engineers had even thought of creating edible clothes to avoid making waste, but it was a bit hot. It immediately makes the job less sexy, that’s for sure.

6. Cutting your nails and hair is also a bit of a pain.

For the nails, the astronauts cut them near an air vent that sucks them in and holds them until you go behind with a real vacuum cleaner to clean everything (well yeah, otherwise it’s disgusting). On the hair side, the astronauts use a clipper directly connected to a suction pipe. At least, no need to sweep, which would be totally impossible in weightlessness anyway.

7. Astronauts do all kinds of experiments

In fact, when you are an astronaut, in addition to taking care of the maintenance of the station, you have missions to accomplish. And quite a few of them are doing a whole bunch of weird experiments that scientists around the world have asked them to do. Basically, the scientists on Earth are taking advantage of a hillbilly being sent into space and asking it to do anything and everything that could possibly be useful for their own work. Good after all the experiences are very controlled and hard selected in advance, but it’s a bit the principle. It avoids having to send 15,000 scientists into space for everyone to do their little experiment before returning home.

8. Snoring is no longer heard in weightlessness

FINALLY a place where you can pioncer quiet. It’s good to know to solve the problems of the couple.

9. Astronauts are constantly in contact with the Earth

You might think the guys are content to send a few videos to give an update when they feel like saying hello, but in reality they spend their days communicating with teams on Earth. They help them to carry out their experiments, to know where this or that tool is in the station (the least screwdriver is monitored, really), and they give them missions to carry out. You better have a good connection for that.

10. They eat canned stuff, but not only

You’ve all heard of the canned foods eaten by astronauts, so no need to talk about it for ages, but know that the crew members of the ISS also eat “normal” foods. Kind of nuts or cookies that keep well, and even fresh produce like bananas or apples. As a result, each time new astronauts arrive on the station, the others who have already been there for a few months are happy since they will be able to eat fresh fruit again. So know that if you show up in the ISS, it is better to bring apples than flowers.

11. Astronauts also have an aperitif

Even if a box of floating peanuts, it still freaks out.

12. Desserts in space are mostly puddings.

Mmmmh a good chocolate astronaut pudding.

13. Sandwiches are made with omelets instead of bread

To avoid the terrible threat of flying crumbs.

14. The first days in the resorts are not super fun

Before acclimatizing to weightlessness, the astronauts who land on the ISS eat all the dirty effects: the contents of their meals go up so they always want to puke, their intestines float a little so they have everything time wants to fart, and their head is too irrigated in blood so they have headaches all the time. And they look a little puffy too. But all that eventually fades with time and practice. Fortunately, otherwise no one would want to go into space.

15. Sport is obligatory

2 hours a day, after the day’s work, the astronauts have an obligation to play sports to keep in shape. It is only after that that they are entitled to their free time to communicate with their relatives, read their emails or send photos of the Earth on Twitter like Thomas Pesquet. But no question of spending your days like a lazy in front of Netflix.

16. Tears cling to the eye

Forbidden to watch Bambi therefore.

17. An astronaut can see up to 16 sunrises and sunsets per day.

A sort of accelerated life.

18. The current record for the longest spaceflight is 14 months in a row.

It is held by Soviet Valeri Vladimirovich Polyakov, aboard the Mir space station. Probably gone crazy since.

19. To sleep without floating everywhere, sleeping bags are attached in small compartments

When fatigue comes, baby astronaut puts on his sleeping bag.

20. And overall, it stinks

The air of the ISS works in a closed system, suddenly, between the farts, the toilets that have to be used again, the filthy clothes and the perspiration which is evacuated in all directions, well it represses quite a bit. You shouldn’t be too sensitive to smells, otherwise it’s dead. But it’s like everything: astronauts get used to it quickly.

21. (Bonus) If you want to learn even more stuff about the ISS and the preparation of astronauts, read Marion Montaigne’s comic strip “Dans la combi de Thomas Pesquet”

Besides, it’s really VERY funny.

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