Top 5 Facts: Life in space


  • The Skylab and the Mir space stations had shower units, but on the ISS they use a water gun and a cloth to wash and dry themselves. A special shampoo is used for ‘washing’ hair.


  • Without a washing machine, clothes are worn for about two days and are then disposed of. Changing clothes is more difficult, as your limbs move and float at odd angles.


  • A hot and cold water dispenser is used to reconstitute freeze-dried foods and rehydrate drinks. Straws are used to suck liquids; eating utensils are fitted with magnets.


  • Astronauts use a sleeping bag hooked to the wall. They have to be positioned near an air ventilator, otherwise their exhaled carbon dioxide forms a bubble around their head.


  • ISS astronauts spend two hours a day exercising. Weights, bikes and treadmills help them to stay healthy, and stop bone/muscle density loss caused by weightlessness.