You may have seen ‘Interstellar’ or the recently released ‘The Martian’, but astronauts offer insight about life in space to an accurate depiction that no one else could ever provide better. It’s not quite as glamorous as it sounds, and it requires many sacrifices that imply diet or waste disposal.
The International Space Station (ISS) is currently the home of 218 astronauts from different backgrounds, all living together in the beautiful and high-tech spacecraft. It’s a marvel of engineering, and a true testament to how far we’ve come. It provides with excellent knowledge and scientific information about life in space.
Some of which have been unveiled by ISS commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore, who had been in charge of the space station between November 2014 and March 2015. Astronaut Scott Kelly has also dished out a few details about the ‘graphic’ parts of what living in space is truly like.
Inhabitants of the ISS are forced to adapt and implement a series of techniques to make life manageable. Everything happens in zero gravity, and it implies numerous uses of cables and cords to perform even the most routine of tasks. For example, even waste disposal becomes a problem that requires help.
Astronauts have to strap themselves in to make sure they remain in a proper position on the space toilet. It requires technology to even keep the waste in, and Wilmore does recount unfortunate incidents when certain brown bits could fly off and were required to be caught with a wet wipe. Not the type of material one wants to handle.
Their urine is well known for being recycled for use as water, after it’s filtered and purified. Though it could possibly be said that it’s not a thought that could just be eliminated very easily from one’s mind.
Astronauts on the ISS also have an interesting manner of cooking their meals. They require the use of a hot plate-like device as most of the food is packaged specially for consumption in space. The meals are carefully contained as to not fly out and damage valuable equipment. The crew needs to use liquid salt or pepper, with light and long lasting meals (MRE=Meals Ready to Eat).
It does form quite a wonderful image of astronauts gathering, floating about and eating their meals together.
However, space is also not gentle on the weight. While us earthlings exercise to slim down, astronauts need to make sure to prevent weight loss, due to the stress placed on their bones, muscles and heart. They have equipment to exercise to keep themselves fit.
Along with the difficulty regarding even the more menial daily activities, crew members also have to fight off sleep deprivation, while having pod-like sleeping conditions. It’s not glamorous at all. But it does have an excellent view.
Image source: inverse.com