- Some everyday things are near-impossible for astronauts to do in space.
- Common items like salt and bread are banned from the International Space Station due to fears that they’ll send floating pieces everywhere and potentially damage space equipment or accidentally get inhaled by astronauts.
- Basic eating, sleeping, and showering habits must also be modified.
Astronauts make a lot of sacrifices when they venture off of Earth.
Besides the dangers of space travel and time away from family, microgravity comes with a whole new set of rules that dictates many facets of everyday life.
Here are nine things astronauts can’t do in space.
Astronauts can’t cry the same in space as they do on Earth.
Astronauts can laugh in space all they want, but the act of crying is quite different without gravity.
When asked if he could cry in space, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield answered, "Can you cry in space? Your eyes make tears but they stick as a liquid ball. In fact, they sting a bit. So — space tears don’t shed."
Unless an astronaut wipes that water away, tears in space can form a giant clump that can break free of your eye, as The Atlantic explained. So in space, you can actually watch a ball of your tears float around.
They can’t consume common items like bread and soda.
According to The Franklin Institute, many popular foods are too difficult to transport to and eat in space.
Bread, for example, can result in crumbs that can damage equipment or accidentally get inhaled by astronauts. Therefore, according to NASA, tortillas have been used since the 1980s.
When it comes to beverages, carbonated drinks are off the table because they aren’t buoyant in a weightless environment. Vickie Kloeris, Subsystem manager for Shuttle and ISS food systems at Johnson Space Center and program manager for NASA FTCSC, told NASA, "carbonated drinks currently don’t make the trip because the carbonation and the soda will not separate in microgravity."
Salt and pepper have also been banned for their ability to float away and potentially damage equipment or get in astronaut’s mouth, ears, or nose. Thankfully, NASA has developed liquid versions as a substitute.
According to Space.com, the only people ever to enjoy bread in space were the astronauts on NASA’s 1965 Gemini 3 mission — John Young smuggled a corned beef sandwich onboard.
Astronauts can’t write with regular pens.
If you’ve ever tried to write with a pen upside down, you’ll know that it doesn’t work. The ink needs gravity to flow. According to Scientific American, astronauts from the US and cosmonauts from Russia both originally stuck to mechanical pencils in space.
Then in 1965, the Fisher Pen Company patented a pen whose cartridge is pressurized with nitrogen. That pressure pushes the ink toward the tip, allowing the pen to work even when upside-down, in extreme temperatures, or underwater. The pens are still used today.
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Source: Business Insider