The 10 Most Terrible Things in an Astronaut's Life

To be one of the first professionally trained humans to leave our home planet, to float in space and look back at the tiny blue balloon is an experience unprecedented in its grandeur and awe. Your own dead skin. Despite all the greatness of space exploration, there is just as much humiliation and danger in it. Alan Shepard, the first American to fly into space, spent the entire trip in soaked panties. And in the 60 years since then, the situation has not improved. Every "small step for man" is taken by a foul-smelling, almost demented, irradiated soldier/engineer in just one bad (artificial) day after the full event horizon has passed. With that in mind, here are the ten worst things about an astronaut's career.

10. Training is a nightmare

Yes, millions of children dream of becoming astronauts. It's a shame that less than 1% of applicants are selected, and to apply usually requires a degree and exceptional military service. In other words, that 1% is already selected from the top 1%. But if you do well, the preparatory training is intense. One training program is to spend entire days in a giant pool, practicing the mechanical procedures necessary to keep the station running. Another test is to swim laps in a standard NASA flight suit weighing over 200 pounds. Another test/training procedure is to ride the famous Vomit Comet, an airplane that flies in parabolic arcs to simulate weightlessness. He does this about 50 times per session, often earning his nickname.

9. You will get motion sickness and vomiting

Speaking of vomiting: it is very difficult to keep your lunch in space. Lack of gravity/low gravity interferes with the vestibular system in your inner ear, which means that your sense of balance is impaired. When the inner ear cannot function as the eyes perceive it, you get motion sickness, which we know leads to vomiting. Although astronauts usually get used to motion sickness, known as space adaptation syndrome, within a few days vomiting becomes a constant threat because of other, longer-standing problems. First, it's common knowledge that both shuttles and stations stink. As astronaut Chris Hadfield said, "The toilet is right in the middle of everything. You have up to seven people, and it's a tiny ship. It's like seven people in an RV with a potty for two weeks that you can never get out of."

8. Your skin falls off

When asked what the worst thing about living in space was, ESA astronaut Time Peak replied, "Watching the soles of your feet deteriorate. Because astronauts very rarely use the soles of their feet - almost exclusively during exercise - the soles become more and more soft until they are "like a newborn baby." the skin has formed over a lifetime of walking. The skin peels off piece by piece, lump by lump. After a few weeks, astronauts must take care to remove their socks, lest they let out "a shower of dead skin scales thrown into the cabin."

7. You're going to go a little crazy

When the 2020 pandemic first began, when many people were forced to cope with prolonged relative isolation for the first time, a number of astronauts were asked how they so often coped with their own isolation. The answer? With a tremendous amount of hard work every day. . It's just hard to work all day when any failure could mean death, then go to bed without your loved ones, stay awake, and repeat the same thing over and over again, perhaps hundreds of times in a row.

6. You could go deaf

Wait, that's impossible," you say. "Space is a vacuum; without air to vibrate, there is no sound. It's completely silent." Be that as it may, this does not apply to the inside of shuttles and space stations. In fact, they are unbearably loud. Even loud enough to partially deafen astronauts. Space stations like the ISS are an ecosystem of mechanical and digital parts constantly spinning, vibrating and buzzing. Even in living quarters on the ISS, away from the scientific instruments underlying the operation, it can be as high as 75 decibels. The CDC warns that prolonged noises over 70 dB can damage hearing. Indeed, NASA astronaut Bill MacArthur and Russian cosmonaut Valery Tokarev lost their hearing after being on the ISS in 2006.

5. Even sleep sucks.

After a hard "day" of computing, engineering, and science, you'd think the astronauts could at least count on a peaceful "night" of sleep. Too bad a dozen phenomena conspire to prevent this from happening. First, there is the constant aforementioned noise. Second, astronauts see flashing lights even when their eyes are closed. This is thought to be caused by cosmic rays passing through their eyelids. Then there are the sporadic and frequent sunrises and sunsets that wash over the ISS, sometimes as many as 16 per day. Then there's the lack of gravity, which causes astronauts to tie themselves to a wall so they don't bump into their cabin.

4. Constant Radiation

Here on Earth, our atmosphere and our magnetic shield combine to protect us from the vast majority of cosmic radiation coming our way. In space, astronauts spend all their time outside these two barriers and are therefore constantly exposed to cosmic radiation - much like the survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Astronauts face 2,000 millisieverts (a unit of measurement for biological damage) as caused by ionizing radiation) due to constant bombardment by high energy protons and ions. As mentioned above, these levels are similar to those experienced by survivors of an atomic bombardment. Studies have shown a close link between this radiation and many types of leukemia and lymphoma. NASA, for its part, is continually reviewing ways to limit exposure, including reducing the time that high-risk astronauts spend on the ISS.

3. Your body needs gravity

Lack of gravity/low gravity in space involves many problems: motion sickness, loss of skin and sleep problems mentioned above, but also many others. First, gravity holds the contents of your stomach and allows the gases to escape, and without it, burping is impossible and your stomach becomes one big acid ball. Second, gravity helps determine your height on Earth by compressing your vertebrae. Without it, astronauts in space literally grow taller. Their spine stretches due to lack of compression in just a few hours. Once back on Earth, the spine shrinks just as quickly. As Korean astronaut Soyoung Yi said, "Both experiences were very painful. I increased an inch in space in three hours and contracted when I returned in the same short period of time. The pain in my back was insanely bad.

2. No, seriously, he really needs gravity

Loss of gravity can cause not only cosmetic and superficial changes, but also serious problems affecting muscles, blood, and bones. Without gravity, blood flow in astronauts is impaired and sometimes even leaks backwards. Although in most cases this results only in swollen, flushed faces and weak legs, it has at least twice resulted in blood clots in the jugular veins, which could easily be fatal. In addition, muscles suffer from both lack of circulation and lack of use. Astronauts have to exercise constantly to keep their muscles from atrophying, and even then, they must undergo one to two months of recovery programs upon their return. This is also true for bones, which, like muscles, depend on gravity, since astronauts are much more likely to get osteoporosis in space.

1. going to the bathroom is the worst part

Okay, obviously it's incomparable to the risk of leukemia or fatal blood clots, but astronauts often back it up: peeing and pooping are the two worst parts of life in space,'' says Peggy Whitson, whom you may know for keeping a pile of money. NASA records, including most of her time in space, say that using the bathroom was her least favorite part of life in space. The writing, which is considered the easier of the two, involves sucking urine out of your lower regions with a machine, which then turns it into the water you drink. Pooping is even worse, as it means filling a glorified potty hole to the point where, as Whitson said, "you have to put on a rubber glove and pack it in." But, of course, because of low gravity, some poop comes out of the pit and starts wandering around, floating around the station. Then the best of the best in the world, our pioneers in space exploration, have to play "catch the poop.

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