Space travel would be vogue very soon. It is not an unthinkable mission given the exciting ventures taken up by tech giants. Many of you reading this piece may contemplate travel to space in the next few years or start living there! Who knows?
But this form of travel is way different from traveling by flights. It is not just booking tickets and showing up at the airport on time. Space travelers need to take up rigorous training as they have to make lots of bodily and mental adjustments while floating in zero gravity.
What is space exploration all about that makes it so exciting? Do I need an astronaut suit? Am I physically fit to take up such ventures? There are many such things to know before finalizing your plan to travel to space. Here we bring some useful tips from the astronauts to give you an idea of this unique form of travel.
15 Space travel tips from astronauts:
According to the Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, getting trained for space travel should focus on improving basic skills and strength enhancement. His tips are mostly meant for space exploration that extends a lot beyond a short journey in space.
Many retired astronauts and the former director of the Kennedy Space Center also chipped in with their valuable tips regarding travel to space.
1. Physical fitness:
Space travel demands a high level of stamina, strength and energy. You need to meet certain physical parameters regarding your height and weight before you get selected for the training. Apart from this, you will need to maintain an all round fitness.
2. Undergoing special training:
All prospective space travelers need to undergo a rigorous training session lasting for 8-10 days to a month. This not only helps you to get mentally prepared for the flight but also teaches you about the incredible technology associated with space travel even if it is meant for tourism.
Prospective travelers are also trained in special space simulators like that of Star City, Russia that teaches you the basic controls of a space shuttle. You will be put through centrifuges or small capsules to give you the feeling of the moment of rocket launch.
3. Preparation for take-off:
Escaping the earth’s atmosphere isn’t easy. You need to gear up for a drastic environmental change. Practice stretching exercises and train your body for weightlessness either in 40-feet deep water or in a microgravity flight. Of course, all these should be done under a doctor’s guidance.
4. Conditioning for re-entry:
Your physique gets conditioned to space and again it has to be reconditioned for reentry to the earth. Your spine would be decompressed. You would appear thinner and leaner than before. Never miss the space exercise regime with squats, stationary bikes and cables.
5. Pack light:
Since both volume and space are critical factors for space travel, it is always recommended to pack light. Think hard enough and carry only the basic essential things that you cannot do without. You will be amazed to know one can survive easily with a few things.
6. Pay attention to your surroundings:
A veteran astronaut of NASA Nicole Scott who has 104 days of experience working and staying in both space shuttle and International Space Stations stresses on focusing on the surroundings to have a better experience of travel.
Unless you travel light, you cannot focus on surroundings, says Scott a big proponent of traveling light and paying attention to the surroundings. When you look out of the window of the space shuttle, the view of the earth is amazing and you can intently focus to know more about it from space. You have invested your time and money for this only!
7. Avoid throwing up over all:
Space can make you sick. Even seasoned astronauts are not spared from this. Special drugs are available to battle sickness in space travel which you may need to use. Do not take excess of these medicines as it may cause urine retention which may need catheterization. That is painful!
8. Get your nails clipped:
This is an important task that you need to check before boarding the space shuttle. If you do the same on the same shuttle, the clippings of the nails will float around making your space travel and that of others a big nuisance.
9. Do not stick to the windows:
Experiencing space through the windows is a dream activity that all space travelers would like to do. But do give your fellow passengers a chance to enjoy the same; do not stick to them all along.
10. Handle liquids carefully:
At zero gravity, liquid tends to form a sphere. It may be fun to play with those but use water in that case and not any staining liquid like grape juice. But don’t go too far with it as it would become a nuisance for your fellow travelers.
11. Eatable delicacies:
You will have to opt for pre-packaged foods which are mostly not allergen-free. You can enjoy specially created out-of-the-world delicacies like space burritos and modified kimchis. Fresh fruits and vegetables are available from resupply missions but those have to be consumed within 2 days.
12. Take care to clean up the toilet after use:
Nobody will like coming in contact or smelling your body excreta. If you are careless in this respect, tension may build up with your fellow passengers especially on long-duration space travel and can dampen the spirit.
13. Manage your sleep-cycle:
That peaceful REM sleep you won’t get but power naps can be helpful. Flashes of intense cosmic radiation send wrong signals to your eye disturbing your normal sleep cycle. It would not be your usual wake-up-in-the-morning routine.
14. Not the conventional astronaut suit:
Space attire has evolved a lot along with the advancement in space exploration. Gone are the days of cumbersome astronaut suits. Now, astronauts have to wear white or orange colored space suits (sometimes blue suits); orange suits while taking off and reentry and the white ones for space strolls. No need to skip the underwear although shoes are unnecessary. No chance for laundry in the orbit.
15. Manage depressive thoughts:
As you gaze through the infinite void in space, a sort of depression may take over. You may start feeling helpless being so far from near and dear ones especially if you are on a long term mission and the initial excitement has ebbed off. Looking back to the earth may refresh your mind filling it with awe and glee.