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Posts Tagged ‘astronauts’

175 miles up above your head, Russians and Americans are toodling around together in a ginormous space station that didn’t even exist ten years ago. It’s not clear which is more awesome: the space station itself or the fact that after decades of overt competition and hostility during the Cold War — a period of time where even the prospect of total nuclear annihilation wasn’t off the table — somehow Russians and Americans have learned how to play well together again.

Not the International Space Playboy Mansion you hoped it would be.

Sure, the politics of it are fascinating, but the Russian/American reconciliation was more about economics than ideology, so the Space Station itself is probably the more awesome element in reality: it’s solar powered, travels at over 17,000mph, and it’s as big as a football field. Although the habitable space is barely that of a five-story house. It’s been occupied constantly for over ten years by the aforementioned Americans and Russians, but also the Japanese, Canadians, and Europeans who help foot the bill. It’s got 14 “modules” that are all hooked together, some of which are strictly Russian only (apparently old habits die hard), and they conduct hundreds of cool experiments, mostly involving the effects of zero-gravity environments on anything and everything, even though gravity is actually not zero up there, but rather 88% of what we got here at the surface.

It weighs very nearly a million pounds, passes over your head 15 times a day, and it’s floating up there right now, with little bitty people climbing all over it.

And all that sounds pretty awesome indeed, but now its time to ask the really important questions:

Does it stink in there with all those unshowered astronauts and cosmonauts?
Apparently: no.

Do they have to drink their own pee up there?
Basically: yes

How do they go to the bathroom?
Basically: with some sort of suck machine.

Has anyone ever had sex up there?
Apparently: no, if you believe everything you read.

So maybe it ain’t so cool up there after all. Well, except maybe for that suck machine part.

But still, the International Space Station is effing awesome.


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