If you dream of being a space tourist, pay attention to the warning of Megan McArthur, NASA astronaut: “space flight is uncomfortable and risky, it takes courage.” From her own experience, orbiting the Earth isn’t all fun and games.
It’s actually a game, but not in the way people envision it. Megan explains that the experience is both spectacular and inspiring. However, it brings risks, discomfort and difficulties to perform daily tasks, which should be simple. Being part of microgravity is “like having superpowers,” he said in a recent call to the International Space Station (ISS).
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Spaceflight is uncomfortable and risky, and the pros and cons go hand in hand. “I can raise things that, on Earth, would need two or three people to help me. Things that are very, very simple on Earth suddenly become very difficult – even something routine like sleeping or brushing your teeth. However, you really have to think, ‘How am I going to do this successfully and without making a mess?’” he concluded in the call.
You can’t spit out the toothpaste, the astronauts have to swallow it, or the liquid would wander around the aircraft. Above all, sleeping is not an easy task: the space is the size of a phone booth, inside a bag attached to the wall so that it doesn’t float. Furthermore, such cabins need air vents so that carbon dioxide bubbles do not form around the astronauts’ heads.
Several companies started to sell tours of this type to the richest, who do not realize that space flight is uncomfortable and risky. At least two crews of tourists are expected to board SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft within the next six months, meaning more people will experience space. The truth is that only astronauts like Megan are aware of the imminent dangers the universe can hide.
Astronauts don’t shower, don’t wash their clothes, they simply clean themselves with a sponge bathed in a soapy water solution, and the shampoo needs to be rinsed off. Also, they urinate in funnels and defecate in small holes, which are lost by suction so as not to float around the station.
“I think that little by little, with other explorations that they’ll do over the generations, they’ll understand that spaceflight is uncomfortable and risky,” McArthur said. “You have to be willing to put up with some discomfort and some risks, obviously. So, you have to have courage, I think, in your personality to help you overcome things and take advantage of these situations”, she concluded.
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