Normal Things…Done in a Not So Normal Way
Floating around in zero gravity may sound like a blast, but it can actually present a lot of challenges to things we do everyday here on Earth with little to no thought. Here are a few ways that astronauts on the International Space Station complete normal tasks in orbit:
1) Washing Hair
You can’t just have a shower on the space station because the water would come out of the faucet and float all over the place. In this video, NASA Astronaut Karen Nyberg demonstrates how she uses a bag of water, no rinse shampoo, a towel and her comb to wash her hair.
2) Drinking Coffee
Believe it or not, there are special cups used on the space station to drink coffee from the new ISSpresso machine. I mean, you wouldn’t want hot coffee floating around in the air…would you? Previously, astronauts drank coffee from plastic bags, but let’s face it, that sounds pretty unenjoyable. Now, there are zero Gravity coffee cups, and an Italian espresso machine aboard the International Space Station! These cups were created with the help of capillary flow experiments conducted in space.
There’s nothing like crawling into bed after a long day, but astronauts can’t exactly do that while they’re in microgravity. Instead of beds, crew members use sleeping bags attached to the walls of their small crew cabins. They are able to zipper themselves in so that they don’t float around while they’re asleep. This may sound uncomfortable, but some astronauts, like Scott Kelly, say that they sleep better in space than they do on Earth!
Exercising in general is an important part of a daily routine. In space, it even helps prevent the effects of bone and muscle loss associated with microgravity. Typically, astronauts exercise two hours per day, but the equipment they use is different than here on Earth. For example, if an astronaut wants to run on the treadmill, they have to wear a harness and bungee cords so that they don’t float away.