You must have heard news a little while back about SpaceX’s historic launch – they were able to send 2 astronauts to the International Space Station, which is a pretty big step forward. Since NASA retired the space shuttle program back in 2011, they’ve basically had no way to send people into space, except to rely on the Russian space program. Now they do have a way to send people again, and they don’t even have to do it themselves.
Of course, now that SpaceX has been able to do this successfully, it’s raised all sorts of discussions about what they’ll be able to do in the future. The Moon, Mars, you name it, there’s been a renewed interest almost every area of space travel. It’s also made it more optimistic that maybe one we’ll get some sort of commercial space travel, maybe like the airlines that we have today.
Did you know NASA is planning a moon mission in 2024? Apparently, they’re planning to establish a permanent colony on the Moon, which seems hard to imagine. After all, 4 years ago was 2016, and it feels like hardly anything’s changed since then (technology-wise, at least – there’s been plenty of change in other areas).
I don’t know if they’ll be able to meet this tight deadline, but hearing the news definitely got me excited. Of course, this is exactly the kind of thing I’ve always wanted to see since I was a kid, so it started getting me thinking about life in space again.
Where do we even start? I started to wonder, what kind of nasty food do they have to eat up there? How about going to the toilet?
It seemed like Chris Hadfield read my mind.
He was the former commander of the International Space Station, and the first Canadian to hold that position. Of course, he didn’t go to the moon, but he did live in zero gravity up in the ISS for a while, and fortunately, before he left, he made a series of videos that looked at the many aspects of living in space.
His videos tend to be quite short, but they are pretty good at explaining a specific problem and what they have to deal with to get around it. For example, what does a typical meal look like on the ISS?
Everything that we’ve designed and are used to have all taken gravity into account, so it really is difficult to do a lot of things in space – even “preparing” a meal is quite a challenge (although if you’ve seen my other review, even on Earth plenty of people haven’t quite gotten the hang of it).
It’s interesting to see the little innovations that they’ve come up with, like using Velcro on practically everything to hold things in place. Who would’ve thought such a simple idea would play such an important role even in a high-tech setting like this? It’s also fun to see the small things they do to try to make space a little more like home, like bringing up souvenirs to the ISS, or even sending up their favourite BBQ sauce, which NASA does allow for, surprisingly.
However, it’s also a reminder that there’s still quite a lot of work that needs to be done before we get anywhere close to colonizing space. The way we’re keeping the crews on the ISS alive is definitely not sustainable even if it were a little further away. For example, they regularly send shipments of clean laundry up to the space station, something that’s probably not feasible for astronauts on Mars.
Who knows if we’re going to be the ones to live to see regular travel through space. But in the absence of that, I’ve gotten lost in videos like his that brought a little bit of space into my room. Chris Hadfield has done quite a number of videos and interviews on this topic, which I would definitely recommend you take a look.
Maybe the next time you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, you’re glad you didn’t have to strap yourself in.