Famous astronaut Scott Kelly is part of a NASA program called “Year in Space” and he’s almost halfway there. With this occasion, the International Space Station has set up a conference with Earth where he talked about his experience so far.
On Monday, an infographic was released also marking the progress that’s been made so far, featuring some fun facts on what living in space means for the human body. Prepared to be surprised – and probably a little grossed out – by some of the practices we were never aware of before.
You were probably never curious as to what happens with all the human waste that is produced on the space station, but even so, NASA chose to disclose some of the details about what is involved in disposing of astronauts’ personal business.
A year in space is not a short while, and the human body experiences plenty of changes living in microgravity. But one thing remains: astronauts have to poop, too. NASA scientists calculated that by the end of his stay, Kelly will have produced around 180 pounds (82 kilograms) of poop.
All that human waste is regularly discharged from the ISS and it burns up in Earth’s atmosphere. Did you think you were making a wish upon a shooting star? You might want to reconsider, as scientists say that burning feces might not sound so glamorous, but they resemble very much a dying star.
Prepare for some more, because that’s not the end of it. It turns out that pee and sweat are recycled on the space station, so Kelly will have around 730 liters (193 gallons) of his own stuff to keep him hydrated. There’s nothing magical about this fun fact, however. It’s just plain gross – and maybe practical.
More than 300 experiments are looking to find an answer in Kelly’s one year in space, a time he spends in the company of Russian Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko. Most of the human experimental programs are observing the effects space has on the body.
If he wants to keep in shape, Kelly has to faithfully exercise for two hours each day, so his bones, muscles and heart don’t deteriorate; even so, there have been reports on bone mass loss and weaker vision, according to NASA. Microgravity also has an effect on the fluids that shift out of his legs and towards his head.
So thank you, NASA, for ruining shooting stars for us. But also, thank you for showing us the less glamorous side of being an astronaut, maybe more children will cross this career off their wish list.
Image Sources: here and here