At one point, we all dream of being an astronaut and kicking ass in space. For some, they actually do the things they need to do in order to make this dream a reality, but for the rest of us, we just watch from afar. I’m kinda ok with that; space seems scary and there’s too much responsibility.
To become an astronaut, there are a lot of requirements and hoops that you need to go through, in order to blast off into space. Some of it seems pretty standard, but there are other things that Astronauts are obligated to do, that make me want to stay home and look at my glow-in-the-dark stickers on my ceiling.
They have to be able to move a two-ton object When there’s no gravity, it’s pretty easy to move something the size of a car, with a 2-ton weight, with a little nudge. But it’s that initial push that’s the hard part.
In training, they have to practice in an environment that’s like a giant air-hockey table, to be able to safely and successfully move heavy objects, and stop them completely.
They have to be tied down to sleep Despite the lack of gravity, or concept of up and down, astronauts still need to be horizontal to sleep, to avoid phantom pains. So they need to be zipped into a sleeping bag tethered to the wall, and strap their heads in.
You have to hold in your tears While on earth, you can break into an uncontrollable sob at a missed field goal, but in space, it’s more complicated.
While some astronauts can get those tears out, without gravity, tears can get stuck and turn into blobs that build up in your tear ducts and cause extreme pain.
Plus, there’s also no where for the tears to go, they’ll just float around the space station.
You can’t drink anything fun in space While it stands to reason that alcohol is forbidden (unless you’re from Russia, then it’s dangerous to stop drinking) on the space station, other drinks are too. Anything bubbly won’t affect you the same way in space without gravity and Earth’s pressure, so it’ll have a negative effect on your system.
See ya later La Croix!
You have to love sunrises While on Earth we just have the one sunrise, astronauts see up to 16 sunrises within a 24-hour period, just based on the rate that they orbit.
So they have to learn to sleep through the slightest light and train their bodies to sleep and wake at certain times.
You must be willing to spend a whole day underwater So, this is cheating because it’s not about space, but it’s still relevant. Before you get selected as a candidate to go to space, you need to do several days of underwater training.
In one training exercise, you need to make mechanical adjustments to replica space stations, while another requires you to swim the length of an Olympic-sized pool 3x. While wearing a 250-lb space suit.
You must have a strong stomach In training, astronauts are subjected to anti-gravity sessions in the vomit comet, to prepare them for months of zero-Gs. This can lead to an upset stomach.
Now imagine doing that 60x in a row, just in training.
You must come to terms with the fact that your sense of smell and taste will be lost While space food has gotten better, it’s still not very tasty. But that’s less a critique on NASA’s cooking and more about the loss of taste due to the changes in pressure.
But since astronauts need to eat an insane amount to keep their energy up, the space station is stocked with plenty of hot sauce.
You have to exercise an insane amount in space While there’s a lot of science and star-gazing going on up there, there’s also a lot of physical exertion.
In order to combat the loss of muscle mass and bone density, they have to do cardio and weights for at least 2 hours a day, according to NASA guidelines.
You have to learn Russian Up in space, the most commonly used language next to English, is Russian. As well, since we don’t have a space program operating at the moment, we rely on the Soyuz spacecrafts from Russia, to send astronauts to space.
Hence, our astronauts need to be able to read and understand Russian to control them. So they go through an intensive training course and even spend time with a Russian family, to get an immersive education.
You must be comfortable operating machines in extreme conditions An astronaut-in-training needs to be able to adapt to any circumstance. So while they have simulations at NASA for being out in space, they also bring astronauts to Arizona’s “meteor crater” to acclimatize them to surfaces like the moon and Mars.
They must be survival experts The International Space Station is 250 miles above us, so if something goes wrong up there, no one is coming their rescue.
Astronauts go through rigorous training in survival, First Aid and CPR, and also how to MacGuyver solutions to problems they never expected to face.
They must stay calm under pressure and love adventure On the space station, there are over 8 miles of wire, 50 computers that control the systems, and 350K sensors that ensure the health and safety of the crew, and astronauts are responsible or it.
If something starts to flash and an alarm goes off, you need to calmly solve the problem, before it’s too late. You never know what’s gonna happen up there, so you need to be prepared for the unexpected.
You have to learn how to live in cramped quarters Most astronauts spend a few months up there, and share the space with a 3-6 others. Considering that the ISS is the size of a football field, but really narrow, that’s not a lot of space.
There are designated pods for sleeping, recreation, work and exercise, but you’re still on top of one other at times. Then there’s the trip to and from the station. Yikes.
You have to hold onto things tightly In space, everything floats. If you’re not paying attention to the tool your holding, or the sandwich your enjoying, it’ll float away.
There’s actually been reports of astronauts accidentally letting an item go and it literally disappears. No one knows where they’ve gone, but if you’re up there and find a spatula, a tool bag and a camera; I know a few astronauts that will be relieved.
You have to survive without a lot of creature comforts Going to space isn’t like a regular trip away. NASA allows each astronaut a mere 20 individual personal items that can weigh up to 1.5 pounds. That’s not much.
You have to choose wisely.
You can’t always believe your eyes Without gravity, your eyes can actually start changing shapes, due to pressure. This can lead to vision problems and hallucinations.
For some astronauts, their eyes play tricks on them and they need a second pair of eyes to verify that the UFO outside is actually there.
You have to be a neat freak Due to the close quarters, you need to be on top of your personal hygiene, despite the fact that you can’t bathe or change your clothes daily.
Then there’s just the general maintenance of the station. You can’t leave things lying around, or have crumbs get away from you. The smallest item in the wrong place can have catastrophic effects on the ecosystem.