10 Nasty Things That Excrete Your Body In Space

| November 7, 2016

Space – it’s fine, we were told. But to live in space is difficult. Unlike, for example, in Moscow, the space is not designed to live and work people. If we exclude the direct radiation poisoning and exposure to temperatures close to absolute zero, as well as the absence of air, the very absence of gravity poses a serious threat to the bags with a liquid, which we call bodies. From sudden urination before continuing cold, space presents many memorable challenges for our body. Let’s run through the strangest and most painful side effects to be aware of anyone who wants to become an astronaut.

Sudden urination

On Earth, your bladder will notify you that it is time. As you fill the bottom of the bladder pressure increases, and when it is full of two-thirds, you already start to feel a certain need. In space, you will not feel it because of zero gravity. And only when the bladder reaches a maximum fullness, you will begin to feel something. But by now you already ….

Consider the example of astronaut John Glenn. In 1962, he took himself out of 0.8 liters of urine in it – and the nation – the first orbital flight, without prior notice. Fortunately, he was wearing a collar that allows him to urinate without hands. (Great idea, by the way, for long road trips and movie theaters).

NASA considers it necessary innovation after predecessor Glenn, Alan Shepard was sitting on the launch pad for five hours fifteen minutes before the flight into space. Shepard had no choice but to pee in his suit; in the process, he shorted a heart rate monitor. Currently, astronauts on the International Space Station are equipped with high-tech solution: adult diapers that can absorb urine and processed it into drinking water later.

Bloating and Gas

When the stomach breaks down food, it produces gas. Thus was born belching. On Earth, the air rises quite naturally. In space, the gases remain trapped in the stomach. Any attempt to burp can cause vomiting. ISS Astronaut James Newman found that the vomit will help small jump. His strategy of “shock and burp” includes pushing away from the wall to the gas moving in one direction (to the outside through the esophagus), and the liquid in the stomach – in the other.

The problem with the gas collection is one of the reasons why the astronauts did not take with them into space carbonated drinks, mineral water or beer.

Beads of sweat

The natural ability of the body to absorb calcium in the bones does not work in microgravity. In space, we lose bone density is ten times faster than in osteoporosis. Muscles also atrophy, as you use them rarely – any action can be carried out using the lightest shock. For these reasons, the astronauts have to train for several hours a day. This disperses sweat everywhere. If you train hard enough, you stuck to the sweat clots. He swims with you the whole day, to the frustration of colleagues, astronauts, and not unstuck. It needs to be removed. Then collect. Why? It is a valuable source of water that can be recycled into the water.


Like sweat, tears roll into balls in space. They do not drain beautiful drops you on the cheeks. No, they are covered with eyes so that nothing to see. ISS Astronaut Andrew Feistel encountered this problem in 2011 during a seven-hour spacewalk. Defogger solution hit him in the eye and they began to water, they could not wipe the inside of the suit. His partner Mike Fincke walk could only say “I’m sorry, dude.” Therefore Feistel had to scratch their eyes with the help of a device that is used to protect the nose during the pressure setting. Hardly it was nice, but it helped.

Problems with mucous

On Earth, gravity drains your mucous. When you produce phlegm, it flows through the nasopharynx. This happens throughout the day, you just do not know it. In the absence of gravity snot accumulate, and you appear mild cold symptoms – headache, stuffy nose, lack of taste and smell of food. The only way to fix it – sneeze. Many times. But this can damage the mucous membrane and in general not a pleasant effect. Therefore, most astronauts prefer tasty working mechanism: hot sauce and other spicy food. And although this is not a sinus burst forth, the astronauts will feel again the taste of food.


The sense of “top” and “bottom” is based on your sense of gravity, which in turn rests on two small organ in each inner ear. Baggies utricle and saccule use sensitive hairs in the layer of the membrane. When we turn, the membrane moves, and with it the hair, which indicates the change in balance.

In weightlessness there is no reason for the shift of the membrane, so that the system runs through the stump-deck. There is a feeling of disorientation, which did not immediately get used to. And until you get used to it, it will be “space sickness”. Nausea, headaches, vomiting, discomfort.

Technically, this is known as space adaptation syndrome, but informally it is measured by the so-called “scale Garna”. It was created in honor of former US astronaut Edwin Garnier. He served on a shuttle mission in 1985, but it is extremely difficult to adapt to space. Upon returning to Earth, astronauts other jokingly Garna developed a scale to determine how much an astronaut suffering from space sickness. Garn experienced disease “one Garn” – the maximum degree of space sickness. Garn suffered from all of the above problems, but swears he never vomited.

Dancing lights

Even during the “Apollo 11”, in 1969, the astronauts reported that they saw bright flashes in the dark – even with your eyes closed. Astronaut Don Pettit, who was also on the ISS, said he saw a “bright dancing lights”, often during sleep.

These lights are still a mystery, but something we know that when we see the object on the Earth, the light from the object enters the photoreceptors in the back of our eyes. The photoreceptors signal to our brain about what is going on, and he can put everything in its place. But in space, high-energy cosmic rays are born outside the solar system, and they are everywhere; NASA scientists suspect that the phenomenon of dancing lights caused by these cosmic rays passing directly through the pupil and into the photoreceptor, but the process is not fully understood. For many years at NASA does not believe in this phenomenon, saying that all the astronauts lying.

Blood rushes to your head

Microgravity breaks the flow of blood in the body. Not attracted to the ground, blood floats freely in the upper part of the body. Best of all – in the head. During the first few days in space, blood vessels in the head and adapted to start fighting in that the upper body as much blood rushes. Then swelling almost disappears and is easy swelling before returning to Earth.


The International Space Station orbits the Earth every 90 minutes, which means the person on board the experiences 16 sunrises and sunsets every 24 hours. These rapid transitions from light to dark disrupt the body’s circadian rhythms, which are usually supported by regular reporting intervals, and literally cut off the desire of the body to sleep. On average, the astronauts are sleeping two hours less per night than on Earth. From this, they become angry, irritable, exhausted, reduced reaction time and concentration falls. It is necessary to take countermeasures. NASA is struggling with sleep problems due to alarms.

Phantom limb

Try the following experiment: do not look at the hand. You can not see it, but you feel it, you know where it is located relative to the body. Even this knowledge depends on gravity. Your proprioceptive system is a series of sensors in the muscles, tendons and joints. The voltage is continuously experiencing your joints as a result of normal action of gravity, informs the system and informs the brain about the location of the limbs. Without these strains in microgravity, it is easy to lose a sense of their own arms and legs. Many astronauts “Apollo” is often woke up on what someone pokes their hand in his face, and then realized that it is their own hand.


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