Can you imagine what is like to be an astronaut on the International Space Station, the ISS?
Find out how the astronauts wash, eat, exercise, work and sleep during their six-month mission.
THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION
Lenght: 72,8 m - Width: 108,5m - Height: 20m
Distance from Earth: 416 km
Orbits the Eart: 15,54 times per day
Function: Scientific laboratory
Astronauts have to adapt to a different personal hygiene routine in space: without gravity, taking a shower is not an option! Astronauts wash with a pre-mixed solution of soap and water and use a flannel. They use no-rinse shampoo for their hair, and they spit their toothpaste into a towel. This hygiene routine guarantees that there are no smelly astronauts on the ISS!
Astronauts have their white spacesuits for spacewalks, but on the ISS they dress in casual trousers and T-shirts. They can't wash their clothes and they only have a limited supply, so the astronauts wear their clothes for as long as possible - a T-shirt usaully lasts 10 days! Luckily the environment is more sterilie in space than on Earth, so their clothes don't get dirty as quickly!
Exercising is the priority on the ISS. Astronauts exercise for two and a half hours per day to stay strong - in space they float, so their bones and leg muscles get weak. Also, exercise helps circulation: without the effects of gravity, the body fluids move to the head and can make the astronauts faint. They exercise with a cycle machine, a treadmill and a special weight-lifting machine. There is no point in lifting machine. There is no point in lifting 100 kg in space - without gravity that's too easy!
Special containers of food are sent from Earth to the astronauts.
Red containers for Russian food; blue containers for American and European food! Some of the meals are ready to eat, but sometimes the astronauts have to add water or heat them. The astronauts enjoy mealtimes, which are a social occasion... even if they eat from plastic sachets using magnetized forks and knives! They drink liquids form a pouch with a straw, and there's no salt or pepper - it could fly up their eyes!
WORKING IN MICROGRAVITY
The astronauts are top scientists: they conduct around 150 experiments during their six-month mission. During the first missions, astronauts observed Earth from space. Today, in addition to physics projects, they also do experiments on plants and even on themselves: they observe how their bodies are adjusting to living in space for long periods of time. They also have to check the equipment on the ISS: the space station is their home and workplace and they must look after it!
SLEEPING IN SPACE
Astronauts have to attach themselves at night so that they don't about and bump into things. They take eight hours of rest in small, individual cabins where they sleep in a sleeping bag.
New arrivals find it difficult ot sleep due to the excitement of being in space and motion sickness, but once dreams and nightmares. They even snore... just like at home on Earth!
EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL EXCREMENT ;-)
Going to the toilet on the ISS is more complex than on Earth - no one wants pee and poo flying around! Astronauts sit on the toilet and use leg restraints to stay in place. They have to aim their poo at a small hole. Each astronaut has a personal urine funnel for pee. Suction ensures that the waste is removed.