Space travel has gone through a lot of advancement in the past few years. Earlier, when people used to travel to space, it would only be for short trips in order to see what the situation was like. However, things have gone through drastic changes with time. Astronauts can not only work in space but live there for a few weeks and sometimes months. So, do you wonder how astronauts live in space? How do they eat their food? How do they sleep? How do they go to the bathroom there?
The situations and laws of physics are different in space. So, normal tasks like these take up a lot of time and effort for astronauts. Not to mention that they have to follow different procedures to make sure that they are able to eat or sleep or go to the washroom in space. Everything about it does sound a bit tough to believe right? Read ahead to find out about the life of astronauts in space.
You would actually be a bit surprised to learn that astronauts, just like others on Earth, have three meals every single day along with some snacks as well. The meals are properly organized on the basis of the astronaut that is going to consume them. There are some special locker trays where the meals are stored so that they don’t float away. During meal times, astronauts move to the area of the gallery in the shuttle and then they get their locker trays. They add some water to their food and then obtain some dehydrated drinks from a nearby rehydration station that offers both cold and hot water. Astronauts have to heat their food in a forced-air convection oven. The temperature should also be between 160- and 170-degree Fahrenheit.
The time taken for the food to get heated is about 20-30 minutes and then they can consume it. The drinks and foods of astronauts are packaged properly using the same materials that are used for packing MREs. Mostly retort pouches, zip lock bags, and some cans are used since these tend to be lightweight and easy to carry. Also, there will be no kind of spillage in such air-tight conditions.
If you have seen a picture of a space station inside, you must know that things tend to float in space. From pencils to humans, everyone floats due to zero gravity. So, you can definitely imagine what the sleeping arrangements would be in a space station, right? Well, sleeping in space is not that difficult as astronauts have bedtimes and they can sleep for a certain period before getting up and starting their work the next day.
An Astronaut Sleeping in Space
There are different sleeping compartments which are inside the sleeping bags on the space state. The bodies of astronauts are loosely strapped in order to prevent the materials from floating inside the shuttle. Astronauts are able to sleep facing any direction and anywhere. The typical sleep time period for an astronaut is basically 8 hours. However, in some cases, they also sleep for 6 hours since they have long hours to work.
Unlike food and sleep, going to the bathroom is a much more complicated process. In the space where gravity ceases to exist, any loose dribbles or drops could actually float out of the toilet. And that is not something that is good for the people on the shuttle.
In the year 2000, the original toilet that was meant to use in space was first designed. However, this model was only to be used by men and women found it very difficult to use since one had to stand up to complete the business. Also, the model wasn’t very reliable and was incredibly difficult to clean.
However, in the year 2018, millions of dollars were spent to create a new and much more improved version of the toilet to be used in space. Did you know that NASA spent about $23 million (approx. Rs.127 crores) on creating the toilet? In this new design, the toilet was a vacuum one and there were footholds and handholds to ensure that the astronauts don’t really drift off into space. In order to relieve themselves, the astronauts could either stand or sit and then hold a particular funnel and hose tightly against the skin to ensure that there aren’t any leakages.
For other things, astronauts would sit on the toilet and the process was pretty similar to the toilet on Earth. However, the toilets in space would begin suctioning the waste materials as soon as the toilet seat is lifted so that the things aren’t drifting away. This way the stink could also be controlled easily. The toilet seats in space are pretty small compared to the ones on Earth since there is a need to get a tight fit.
According to the recent studies that have been made about space travel, it is seen that astronauts seem to grow taller after a few months in space. Now that is a phenomenon that might shock everyone else but there is a reason for such a change. The increase in height is due to the decompression action caused in the spinal column of the body in the zero-gravity atmosphere in space. So, how much do astronauts grow in space? Well, according to the data from studies, astronauts tend to grow about 2-3 inches tall from elongated periods of space travel.
Nothing about space travel is even remotely easy and requires all sorts of training before anyone is sent up into space. The life of an astronaut in space is really tough since they have to struggle a lot to do normal tasks such as eating their food and sleeping. However, with modern technologies and experiments, the quality of food, as well as other arrangements that are made for space travel, are slowly improving.