Simplest tasks much harder in space – astronaut

Speaking with RT ahead of the 28th expedition to the ISS, NASA astronaut Michael E. Fossum said in space even simple activities like cleaning oneself or having a cup of tea turn into a real challenge.

­“We are living there. We are not just visiting there to do experiments,” says Fossum. “Everything in space is harder than it is on Earth.”

Fossum explained that most things you take for granted on Earth like taking a shower turn out to be a real challenge up in space because everything floats non-stop.

“We don’t have a shower on board the space station, because the water wouldn’t know how to find the drain. So we put soap on a cloth and wash up. And things like washing your hair – you can wash your hair completely clothed, pour some water on your hair and scrub it up – the water doesn’t fall down on your clothing, it sticks to your head and you massage it gently,” explained Fossum.

Michael E. Fossum also said you have to be a jack of all trades on the space station.

“You need to be able to do lots of different things. I can perform my role as a flight engineer on the Soyuz spacecraft, but I also know how to fix things”.

But fixing things proves to be one of the most annoying tasks. Fossum told RT that whenever you want to take down something and have tiny screws that are not needed at that moment you have to stick them somewhere as they keep flying away.

For the same reason, astronauts do not usually eat bread.

“The food is a lot like camping food. Most of the US food is freeze-dry. You let in water, wait a little while, it rehydrates and becomes something you recognize. Bread’s a problem because of the crumbs which go into the air and get into your nose and eyes,” explained the astronaut.

Even sleeping in space proves to be a little alien.

“We strap sleeping bags literally to the walls because you don’t need to be on the floor. So we use elastic cords and clips and hooks. The reason we don’t sleep on the floor is because walls are cleaner, and the “down” notion does not make any sense”.