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how do astronauts prepare for space travel

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What education and training is required to become an astronaut?

Becoming an astronaut requires a master’s degree in a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) field such as engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science, or mathematics. A medical degree is also acceptable when accompanied by the completion of a test pilot program. Aspiring to be an astronaut requires …

Why do you think that becoming an astronaut is difficult?

One of the biggest problems is that you can’t plan your life around becoming an astronaut. Even if you have all the right experience, the limiting factor is the number of available spots to fly to space – but this could change in the next 20 years, thanks to commercial space flight.

What is the daily life of an astronaut?

Astronauts even schedule their free time. According to a 2004 report from NASA, an astronaut’s workday is from approximately 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time and includes three meals and 2.5 hours of exercise to maintain muscle tone and fitness. Let’s start with that early morning wakeup call.

What is life like for astronauts in space?

The astronauts have to anchor themselves firmly, or they would drift away – even using the computer becomes difficult. Space walks can be exhausting and put unusual strain on muscles. This means that astronauts have to take time to exercise and keep themselves fit and healthy to carry out their job on the ISS and to return to Earth in good shape.

What is neutral buoyancy?

The Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory. Image to right: Astronauts use the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory to practice extravehicular activities. Credit: NASA. To practice extravehicular activities, or space walks, astronauts go underwater. The astronauts use the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL), a huge "swimming pool.".

What is the NASA mock up facility?

Credit: NASA. In order for astronauts to get a feel for what they will be doing in space, they practice on life-sized models. These models are called "mock-ups.". The Space Vehicle Mock-up Facility (SVMF) is where they practice. In the SVMF, astronauts practice using the Space Shuttle Orbiter and parts of the ISS.

What classes do astronauts take?

They must learn many things besides science. They also learn about medical procedures. Many times, they have to give speeches, so they take public speaking classes. In order to be prepared for any emergency, astronauts take survival training.

How many gallons of water does the NBL pool hold?

The NBL pool is 62 meters (202 feet) in length, 31 meters (102 feet) in width and 12 meters (40 feet) in depth. The pool holds 22.7 million liters (6.2 million gallons) of water. Astronauts float in the water while they practice on full-sized models of space vehicles. They may spend up to seven hours at a time under water.

How long does it take for an astronaut to feel weightless?

Credit: NASA. This plane is also known as the Weightless Wonder or Vomit Comet. It provides about 20-25 seconds of zero gravity. For this brief amount of time, astronauts feel weightless.

Why is the precision air bearing floor so easy?

This can be easy because there is no friction to push against. But, this also makes the job hard. There is no friction to make the large objects stop! They could float and float and float. The Precision Air-Bearing Floor allows astronauts to move huge objects as they might in space. It is a large, smooth metal floor.

How long does it take to become an astronaut?

It can take up to two years of training to become a fully qualified astronaut. Candidates must learn the basics of the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. They must also learn how to be part of a team by flying the NASA T-38 training jets. Image above: Being selected to be an astronaut candidate is exciting.

What do astronauts learn from Soyuz?

All astronaut candidates learn the rudiments of first aid and medical care , in case of emergencies and train to use specialized instruments for safe extravehicular activity. It’s not all trainers and mockups, however.

What are the physical requirements of astronauts?

Physical and Psychological Requirements for Astronauts. Exercise is a huge part of an astronaut’s life, both on the ground in training, and in space. Astronauts are required to have good health and be in top physical shape. NASA.

What is the background of an astronaut?

Often, astronauts have a background as scientists and many have high-level degrees, like Ph.Ds. Others have military training or space industry expertise. Regardless of their background, once an astronaut is accepted into a country’s space program, he or she goes through rigorous training to actually live and work in space.

What are the duties of an astronaut?

On Earth, astronauts are usually required to perform various public relations duties, such as speaking to the public, working with other professionals, and sometimes even testifying before government officials. So, astronauts who can relate well to many different kinds of people are seen as valuable team members.

How long does it take to become an astronaut?

Fast Facts. Astronaut training is very rigorous and can take several years before a candidate is ready to fly. Each astronaut learns a specialty during training.

Where are astronauts training for space missions?

Astronauts training for missions to the International Space Station, using mockups in the Neutral Buoyancy tanks at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. NASA. The space environment is an unforgiving and unfriendly one. People have adapted to a "1G" gravitational pull here on Earth.

How tall do you have to be to be an astronaut?

All astronauts, including pilots, commanders, mission specialists, science specialists, or payload managers, must be at least 147 centimeters tall, have good visual acuity, and normal blood pressure. Beyond that, there is no age limit.

How long was Chris Hadfield on the space station?

Hadfield’s final mission in space was his longest — five months on the space station, including commanding the orbiting complex during Expedition 35 in 2013. But no matter how long the mission, astronauts must always be aware of the danger and be able to work effectively through it.#N#Astronauts always need to be ready to spring into action if an emergency happens. On the other hand, an astronaut must also fully focus on the experiment at hand, which could represent a scientist’s lifework. So while working under demanding conditions, every astronaut also must take responsibility for the experiment that people on the ground are hoping will go well.#N#"You just have to recognize that this is worth doing; exploring the rest of the universe is worth taking a risk for," Hadfield said, adding that the key is to "get ready for the things that would otherwise normally unnerve you, or make you afraid or nervous. Astronauts overcome fear through constant practice.#N#In this photo: Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield holds a radiation experiment made up of bubble detectors during Expedition 34 in 2013.

How many times did Chris Hadfield fly in space?

Here are some of his key spaceflight tips. In this photo: Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield flew three times in space and commanded the International Space Station during Expedition 35 in 2013.

What is a capcom?

Traditionally, the capcom is an astronaut, and Hadfield said that is a necessary item for astronauts in space. When people are away from home for months at a time, he said, they become so focused on the mission that they need to put away thoughts of home and family much of the time. So the astronaut capcom on the ground acts as a trusted colleague …

Why did the Columbia space shuttle break up?

Columbia broke up during re-entry due to a breach in the shuttle’s protective tiles on its belly, killing all seven astronauts on board.

What is the Masterclass series?

MasterClass. For wannabe astronauts and space tourists, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield offers a lengthy video guide that goes over the intricacies of spaceflight. In more than 9 hours of content, Hadfield’s MasterClass series covers everything from basic orbital mechanics and rocketry, to how to train as an astronaut, …

Where do astronauts practice spacewalks?

Astronauts spend hundreds of hours practicing spacewalks at the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory near Johnson Space Center in Houston. It’s a huge pool that holds 6.2 million gallons (23.5 million liters) of water. While the crew is surrounded by safety divers, Hadfield said he tried to keep the simulation as high-fidelity as possible. He urged the astronauts around him to use correct radio protocols and to otherwise behave as though they were far from help, working on the space station.#N#One thing he practiced repeatedly was the overwhelming view he would face upon opening the hatch for the first time. By pretending Earth was in front of him when he opened the hatch, he felt better prepared during his first spacewalk, in 2001. "It’s as if the next time you come out of the bathroom … you are standing on the top of Mount Everest," he said of the view of our planet, upon leaving the space station. "It’s that sort of weirdness of juxtaposition of one place to another," he added.#N#In this photo: NASA astronaut Clay Anderson on a July 2007 spacewalk during Expedition 15.

What was the job of Hadfield?

His crew had docked with the Russian Mir space station, and it was Hadfield’s job to open the hatch. "Some very strong and well-meaning technician from Russia had decided that his part of the station was going to be secure, and he had strapped down that hatch and put a webbing across it, and wire tires.

How does a forced air convection oven work?

The forced air convection oven heats food and beverages by conduction with a hot plate or by forced convection. The temperature of the oven is maintained at 160 to 170deg.F. The oven holds 14 rehydratable packages plus thermostabilized pouches and beverages. Orbiter’s Food Lockers.

What is the food tray used for in space?

The tray also holds the food packages in place and keeps them from floating away in the microgravity of space. Conventional eating utensils are used in space. Astronauts use knife, fork, and spoon. The only unusual eating utensil is a pair of scissors used for cutting open the packages.

What did astronauts eat in space?

Other Mercury astronauts had to endure bite-sized cubes, freeze-dried powders, and thick liquids stuffed in aluminum tubes. Most agreed the foods were unappetizing and disliked squeezing the tubes. Moreover, freeze-dried foods were hard to rehydrate and crumbs had to be prevented from fouling instruments.

What did the Gemini astronauts eat?

Bite-sized cubes were coated with gelatin to reduce crumbling, and the freeze-dried foods were encased in a special plastic container to make reconstituting easier. With improved packaging came improved food quality and menus. Gemini astronauts had such food choices as shrimp cocktail, chicken and vegetables, butterscotch pudding, and apple sauce, and were able to select meal combinations themselves.

How many food items did the Space Shuttle have?

Because Skylab was relatively large and had ample storage area, it could feature an extensive menu: 72 different food items. It also had a freezer and refrigerator, a convenience no other vehicle offered. The Shuttle Food System. Space Shuttle astronauts had a wide variety of foods available to them.

What is a meal tray used for?

During a typical meal in space, a meal tray is used to hold the food containers. The tray can be attached to an astronaut’s lap by a strap or attached to a wall. The meal tray becomes the astronaut’s dinner plate and enables him or her to choose from several foods at once, just like a meal at home.

What is the daily menu?

Daily Menu. Foods chosen for the daily menu were selected based on their commonality to everyday eating, the nutritional content and their applicability to use in space. The Daily Menu food supply is based on the use of frozen, refrigerated, and ambient foods. Frozen food includes most entrees, vegetable, and dessert items.

How to reduce radiation exposure in space?

The Key: The current strategy to reduce the health risks of space radiation exposure is to implement shielding, radiation monitoring, and specific operational procedures. Compared to typical six-month space station missions, later Moon and Mars missions will be much longer on average. Consequently, the total amount of radiation experienced and associated health risks may increase. NASA is developing new radiation detectors to monitor and characterize the radiation environment, which will provide better estimates of the dose and type of radiation to which the crews are exposed. Scientists and engineers are optimizing and implementing operational procedures that use available vehicle stowage and materials to reduce radiation exposure effectively. To investigate the health risks of space radiation exposure beyond low-Earth orbit, NASA supports research that analyzes the biological effects of simulated cosmic rays at ground-based research facilities. Research at these facilities helps NASA understand and reduce the risk of space radiation, ensure proper measurement of the doses that astronauts receive on the space station and in future spacecraft, and develop advanced materials that improve radiation shielding for future missions. Studies of radiation-exposed human cohorts are also being conducted to estimate the health risks in populations relevant to astronauts.

Why is NASA developing new radiation detectors?

NASA is developing new radiation detectors to monitor and characterize the radiation environment, which will provide better estimates of the dose and type of radiation to which the crews are exposed.

Why is NASA using human spaceflight experience on the space station?

The Key: NASA is using its human spaceflight experience on the space station to figure out what types of medical events happen in space over time and what types of skills, procedures, equipment, and supplies are needed so that they will have a good idea of what to pack for future missions to the Moon and Mars.

What is the role of space research?

The research also aids in the development and assessment of medical standards, physical fitness programs and standards, physiological and psychological adaptation training, sensorimotor training, and nutritional health protocols. Understanding the effects of spaceflight on humans is essential as astronauts move from the International Space Station …

Why is it important to prepare for spaceflight?

It is important to prepare for the fatigue astronauts may experience during spaceflight, given that there will be times with heavy workloads and shifting schedules. To prevent crew boredom, NASA considers the kinds of activities in which the astronauts will participate during a multi-year round trip to Mars.

What do scientists learn from NASA?

NASA engineers use the lessons learned to better design spacecraft and improve the fit and functions of spacesuits. The research also aids in the development and assessment of medical standards, …

How does space affect the environment?

In space, astronauts are exposed to varied and increased levels of radiation that are different from those on Earth. Three major sources contribute to the space radiation environment: particles trapped in Earth’s magnetic field, solar energetic particles from the Sun, and galactic cosmic rays. A big challenge in reducing the risks of radiation exposure is that some space radiation particles (especially galactic cosmic rays) are difficult to shield against. Exposure to increased radiation can be associated with both short- and long-term health consequences, depending on how much total radiation astronauts experience and the time frame in which they experience that exposure. Increased risk of cancer and degenerative diseases, such as heart disease and cataracts, have been observed in human populations exposed to radiation on Earth. Health risks for astronauts from radiation exposure in space are mainly driven by long-term impacts. Additionally, animal and cellular research indicate that the type of radiation in the space environment has a larger impact on health outcomes compared to the radiation experienced on Earth. Not only will astronauts be exposed to more radiation in space than on Earth, but the radiation they are exposed to could pose increased risks.

How do bones change after astronauts?

Bone and Microgravity. Some of the processes and functions of bones change after the astronaut has lived in microgravity for several days. In space, the amount of weight that bones must support is reduced to almost zero. At the same time, many bones that aid in movement are no longer subjected to the same stresses that they are subjected …

What happens to the calcium in astronauts’ blood?

Over time, calcium normally stored in the bones is broken down and released into the bloodstream. The high amount of calcium found in astronaut’s blood during spaceflight (much higher than on Earth) reflects the decrease in bone density, or bone mass.

What are the functions of bones?

On Earth, bones perform four basic functions: Mechanical support: The skeleton supports soft tissue and the body’s weight. Many bones also act as levers for muscles, enabling movement. Storage of essential nutrients: Bone stores much of the calcium received from the diet.

How long does it take for astronauts to lose bone mass?

This bone loss begins within the first few days in space. The most severe loss occurs between the second and fifth months in space, although the process continues throughout the entire time spent in microgravity. Extended stays on Mir have resulted in losses of bone mass of as much as 20%. Astronauts regain most of their bone mass in the months following their return from space, but not all of it.

What are the effects of microgravity on the human body?

Life in the microgravity environment of space brings many changes to the human body. The loss of bone and muscle mass, change in cardiac performance, variation in behavior, and body-wide alterations initiated by a changing nervous system are some of the most apparent and potentially detrimental effects of microgravity.

How does bone form on Earth?

In a healthy individual on Earth, bone is formed at the same rate at which it is broken down, so there is never an overall loss of bone mass. This process changes as a person grows older, or enters microgravity for an extended period of time. On Earth, bones perform four basic functions:

What is the inorganic component of bone?

Hydroxyapatite, the inorganic component, is a calcium-rich mineral that stiffens and strengthens the collagen. Together, the interwoven organic and inorganic components of bone create a sturdy yet flexible skeletal structure. Image to right: Bone loss is one example of how the body changes in microgravity. Credit: NASA.