Despite the fissures and fractures in the international community, it has found reasons, more than at any point in history, to come together for a common cause. The international space program is one of the unifying causes.
While the heading may sound a little ridiculous as how can living in an international space station would be different than any space station? Physically, there can’t be. Symbolically, there is a huge one.
Just the idea of astronauts representing different countries working together as a team herald a peaceful future ahead. The one where reasons to unify will long outstrip reasons to divide. For the first time in history, we humans have accomplished a feat in astronomy unmatched in the history of mankind. The future rests on our willingness to unite for a greater purpose, and what other purposes can rival the exploration of the gigantic universe.
Before we delve into the details of how hard it can be to live in a space station, let us first look into the space station itself.
How big is the International Space Station?
An international space station is a giant machine, nearly 360 tons, orbiting around the Earth at lightning speed. It is 5 bedroom-sized apartment, carefully designed to provide a conducive environment for experimentation. The human essential needs are catered for, and special focus has been put on their physical and psychological needs. It has enough room for six sleeping quarters, a gym, a 360-degree viewing window, and areas to conduct a wide array of science experiments.
To get familiar with the abode is important, as now you must have the idea of how difficult it could be to live for nearly a year, or even more, in such a limited space. Christina Koch is determined to set the record for the longest spaceflight by a woman, and so, she has to bear the toughest mental and physical pressure one could take. Her experiences would further enlighten us about the pangs of being a female astronaut.
The side-effects of living in a space station:
- The lower body of the astronauts gets weak as it almost become redundant in space. Crew members have to rigorously exercise for two hours a day, and they can’t even miss a single day. The microgravity acts as a sword of Damocles over their head, as any recklessness in this regard can lead to dysfunction of lower body.
- The exercise is a hard nut to crack, as one astronaut reported that they had to use bungee cords to attach themselves to the treadmill. Other exercises require more strenuous efforts.
- Humans’ immune systems and cardiovascular health deteriorate while living in space. And there are some creepy surprises too: Astronaut Scott Kelly grew 1.5 inches after spending nearly a year in space, and experienced changes in his genetic expression, likely due to radiation exposure damaging his DNA.
- The astronauts have a difficult time sleeping as they have to experience 16 sunrises and sunsets every day. Just imagine yourself strapping down in your cell, so you won’t get your body striking around due to micro-gravity.