When you ask kids what they want to be when they grow up, there’s a good chance that an astronaut will be one of their answers. And can you blame them? Who wouldn’t want a job where they get to float in space above the Earth. As cool as it sounds there are some frustrating and even messy aspects that come with the profession. Keep scrolling to learn of the unfortunate stuff that the lucky candidates who make the cut have to deal with.
1. Going to the Bathroom Has Tons of Extra Steps
If you get grossed out easily, then either brace yourself or keep it moving. This one has to do with going to the bathroom and how the lack of gravity makes such a simple task incredibly tedious. First of all, going number one involves sucking the urine out of your body with a machine that converts it into your drinking water. And number two involves filling a porta-potty and packing everything down with a rubber glove. The worst part though is the rogue waste that manages to escape (because that does happen) and haunt everyone in the space station.
2. Space Stations and Shuttles Stink
Seven people in a tiny ship with a porta-potty smacked right in the middle and nowhere to go. Sounds like the making of a hilarious reality show. But that’s how astronaut Chris Hadfield described it. Now combine that with occasional human waste floating around and a machine that converts urine to water, it’s understandable why the place would smell horribly. Then there’s the constant throwing up thanks to the motion sickness caused by a messed up vestibular system. Luckily, astronauts adapt to it within a few days, but the stinky bathroom might make it hard to keep your lunch down.
3. Sleeping Sucks
You’d think that after hours of hard work that astronauts would be able to clock out and get a good night’s rest before doing it all over again. Well, it isn’t that simple as there are a lot of factors that make it hard to do so. Let’s see, there’s the ridiculously loud space station, sleeping tied against the wall and frequent sunrises and sunsets that occur up to 16 times a day. And there’s also the constant flashing lights that they see, even with their eyes closed, which are said to be a result of cosmic rays passing through their eyelids.
4. Your Skin Falls Off
Sure, just about everyone hates the sight and feeling of calluses, but would you prefer to watch the soles of your feet slowly disintegrate? According to ESA astronaut Tim Peake, this was the grossest part of the job. Because astronauts hardly ever use their feet (except for exercising) the soles would soften over time until they resemble that of a newborn baby’s. The astronauts have to be extra careful while removing their socks otherwise it’ll be nothing but clumps of dead skin in the cabin.
5. You Might Go Deaf
While it’s true that there’s no sound in space because it’s a vacuum and there’s no air to vibrate, the same logic doesn’t apply to the inside of the shuttles and space stations. It’s crazy loud inside due to all the whirring, rotating and vibrating of the various equipment. Even the noises in the living quarters can go up to 75 decibels and according to the CDC, prolonged noises over 70 dB can damage hearing. Two unlucky astronauts Bill McArthur from the U.S. and Valery Tokarev from Russia both suffered hearing loss following their 2006 trip to the International Space Station.
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