NASA astronaut Scott Kelly recently hosted a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” live chat, answering a bunch of questions from fans, young and old alike, who were curious about everything from the smell of space to how he sleeps.
Kelly, who is spending a year aboard the International Space Station,celebrated his 300th day in space last week. Here are some of the most interesting things we learnt about life in space:
Sleeping is not as easy as you think
Zero gravity, or micro gravity rather, is not as comfortable as it looks. Your arms don't hang by your side in space like they do on Earth because there is less gravity.
"It feels awkward to have them floating in front of me. It is just more comfortable to have them folded. I don't even have them floating in my sleep, I put them in my sleeping bag".
He also had this to say about sleeping: "Sleeping is harder in space than on a bed on Earth because the sleep position here is the same position throughout the day. You don't ever get that sense of gratifying relaxation here that you do on Earth after a long day at work".
There are also humming noises on ISS that affect his sleep, so he wear ear plugs to bed – or shall we say bag.
And talking about sleeping...
"I am not a great sleeper. I don't think I have ever slept 8 hours straight in the last 20 years. I wind up waking up a couple of times. My dreams are sometimes space dreams and sometimes Earth dreams. And they are crazy".
Fun fact! There is no such thing as true zero gravity. If you are in space you will have low gravity, but there will always be some kind of micro-gravity. If you are in orbit you actually have a normal amount of gravity. The reason you "float" in orbit is because you and your shuttle are basically constantly falling towards and around Earth.
Space makes the bottom of your feet really soft
When asked to share something unusual about life on the ISS he had this to say:
"The calluses on your feet in space will eventually fall off. So, the bottoms of your feet become very soft like newborn baby feet. But the top of my feet develop rough alligator skin because I use the top of my feet to get around here on space station when using foot rails".
Toilets are creepy in space
The creepiest things he's had to do on the job usually have to do with toilets.
"Recently I had to clean up a gallon-sized ball of urine mixed with acid - the acid is added to the urine so the urine doesn't damage the machinery that moves it through the system. It keeps it from clogging up the system".
Astronauts, they're just like us!
When asked what he likes to do for fun on the ISS, Kelly said he likes to read, take photos of Earth, and play with his food.
"Smells vary depending on what segment you are in. Sometimes it has an antiseptic smell. Sometimes it has an odour that smells like garbage. But the smell of space when you open the hatch smells like burning metal to me".
For the love of veggies!
When asked what the first thing he'll eat when back on Earth, Kelly said it would probably be a piece of fresh fruit – or a cucumber to be exact.
"The first thing I will eat will probably be a piece of fruit (or a cucumber) the Russian nurse hands me as soon as I am pulled out of the space capsule and begin initial health checks".
The most beautiful place on Earth
You guessed it – The Bahamas are just as beautiful from space as it is on Earth.
"My favourite spot on Earth to see from space is probably the Bahamas. The brilliant and varied colours of the blue water and contrast from here is pretty spectacular".
If you'd like to follow Scott Kelly's life in space, check out his Twitter and Instagram.