May 31st, 2011

the simian hunch

The European Space Agency has some insights into the unglamorous practical details of daily life as an astronaut. Snip:

Once stirred, the astronauts tend to adopt a foetus-like posture as they move weightlessly about the station. Sometimes referred to unflatteringly as the “simian hunch”, it seems to be the natural human attitude in microgravity; perhaps it really is an echo of the weightless months that every growing embryo spends floating in its mother’s womb.

The crew dress as quickly as they can: no easy task when your limbs float out at odd angles. They wear disposable clothes, replacing them once every three days: there are no washing machines in space. But the ISS does have a shower. Water squirts out of the “top” to be sucked down by an air fan at the “bottom”. The shower has to be used sparingly to conserve water, but it is a luxury item that earlier space pioneers would have envied. and today’s astronauts cherish.

More on the ESA website (via reddit)


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