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Space Day Q&A - Astronauts

an astronaut © Kovalenko Inna - Fotolia.com

What do astronauts eat in space?

They eat freeze dried food. Things that stick together are best, so that crumbs and other parts don’t float off, while they are eating.

What do astronauts drink in space?

They drink dehydrated drinks. The drinks – such as coffee, tea and cold drinks come as powder and hot or cold water is added. They are sipped from plastic bags with straws.

Does food taste different in space?

Astronauts float around, so fluid which normally accumulates in the bottom half of your body, is evenly distributed throughout your body, including your head, which gives the sensation of having a head cold or congestion. Because of this spicy foods are often eaten.

How many people have flown in space?

As of September 2010 there are 518 people who have flown in space, of which 55 were women.

How do you become an astronaut?

You need to study hard, in particular maths and science, be medically fit and work well in a team. Nearly 60% of American astronauts were scouts when they were children.

What happens to your body muscles in space?

There is no gravity, so no physical effort is involved in standing up, or sitting down, and moving things around is a lot easier as objects are weightless. Muscles atrophy – wither away. Sometimes astronauts have to be carried off the space shuttle when they land back on Earth because they don’t have the muscles to walk.

How do astronauts sleep in space?

Some astronauts prefer to sleep while floating freely around and some like to be attached to the wall in their sleeping bags.

How long can astronauts stay in space?

Astronauts stay for 6 months on the International Space Station, but Russian astronauts have stayed in space for longer than a year.

What do astronauts do in space?

Some astronauts are responsible for supplying equipment and resources to those living on the space stations. Some astronauts are involved in building, maintaining and repairing the space stations. Some are involved in conducting scientific experiments. These can include experiments in biology, chemistry, physics medicine, physiology (the effect of space flight on the human body) as well as astronomical and meteorological observations. All astronauts must spend part of their day exercising.

How much exercise do astronauts need to do?

Astronauts who are in space for 2 weeks will spend 30 minutes a day exercising. Those who are on the International space station for 6 months will exercise for at least 2 hours a day. It is compulsory – no skiving off.

What is gravity?

Gravity is a force of attraction between two objects, not just objects and Earth. But only huge objects, like the planets, have gravity strong enough for us to notice it in everyday life. Earth’s gravity is a force which keeps you on the ground and makes objects fall to the ground. The force of gravity gets weaker with distance. But even in orbit gravity is still acting – it is gravity that keeps the space stations and satellites in orbit and stops them flying off into space.

Why do astronauts feel weightless?

Astronauts in orbit feel weightless for the same reason you feel weightless on a roller coaster or in a lift when it starts to go down. It is because they are in a kind of ‘free fall’ - a free fall in a circular path round the Earth. They feel weightless as if they are constantly falling, but never coming to a stop.


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