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Letters....from SPACE!
December 18, 2006 4:09 PM   Subscribe

Have you ever wondered what cosmonauts eat? What ISS astronauts do all day? What we can see from orbit? Ed Lu, The first American to launch and land on a Soyuz spacecraft, kept what is arguably the first space blog while spending an 184 days on the International Space Station with cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko in 2003.
posted by muddgirl (21 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Awesome - hopefully I'll dream of something like this tonight.
posted by flippant at 4:27 PM on December 18, 2006 [2 favorites]


From the second link:
Meanwhile, over in the Russian Segment of the Space Station Yuri has lately been working on an experiment that looks at what are called plasma crystals. Inside a sealed chamber are small plastic spheres that are given an electric charge so they all repel each other. What happens is that they each try to get as far away as possible from the other particles, but since they are in an enclosed volume they end up forming a regular lattice.
Man, that sounds cool. I want pictures.

On second thought, he doesn't specify how big the spheres are, so pictures may not be possible. science n00b
posted by Shecky at 4:29 PM on December 18, 2006


FYI: clicking on a photo will take you to a link to a higher-res version.
posted by muddgirl at 4:31 PM on December 18, 2006


From the photo section: European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Pedro Duque of Spain watches a water bubble float between him and the camera, showing his image refracted. Cool!
posted by inoculatedcities at 4:45 PM on December 18, 2006


Even male pattern baldness is cooler in space.
posted by matthewr at 4:50 PM on December 18, 2006


One cosmonaut made a pretty nice diagram to mark time during his 96 day in space. Edward Tufte has them for sale on his site:
Some 22 parallel time-series show 1500 sunrises and 1500 sunsets during the flight, a schedule for space walks and baths, and visits of resupply ships bringing equipment, fresh fruit, and gingerbread
posted by jjwiseman at 4:51 PM on December 18, 2006


great post, thanks!
posted by kolophon at 4:55 PM on December 18, 2006


Not to be completely base, but since they discuss our other bodily functions I could not help wondering what do they do when they get, um, horny? How do they dispose their seed in a non-gravity environment (I wonder how multi-purpose that (h)air-vaccuum in the barber shop pic is!?)?
posted by Azaadistani at 5:04 PM on December 18, 2006


I just remembered this post on digg with great high-res pictures from the current mission.
(as a commenter pointed out, taken before they dropped the camera)
posted by kolophon at 5:06 PM on December 18, 2006


The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum (on the mall) in Washington and the Military Museum in Beijing (which is like Disney World for those who, like me, get all fluttery like a school girl at a Beatles concert when you see Socialist Realism) have awesome displays of Astro/Cosmonaut food. Borscht in a toothpaste tube somehow doesn't seem all that appealing to me though.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:08 PM on December 18, 2006


There's lots of great videos in The Gallery, if you're brave enough to guess some search terms. For example, these (by now famous) water droplet tension examples performed by Don Pettit during Expedition 6.
posted by muddgirl at 5:30 PM on December 18, 2006


When I was a kid and I went to science museums, I always wanted my parents to buy me the astronaut icecream that they sold in little vacuum packs in the gift shop. They never did. My inner eight year old is still sulking.

This is, perhaps, even more awesome than astronaut icecream. Then again, I wouldn't know, having never had it.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:50 PM on December 18, 2006


I could not help wondering what do they do when they get, um, horny? How do they dispose their seed in a non-gravity environment

Anal sex. C'mon, keep up!

grapefruitmoon: The astronaut ice cream is not that great. I once kept one for about three years (at room temp) and it basically tasted the same. That gives you some idea of what it's like.
posted by dhartung at 6:18 PM on December 18, 2006


For some reason when I was young, my teeth were extremely sensitive to cold, and so eating ice cream was pretty much akin to punching myself in the gums repeatedly. I thought astronaut ice cream was awesome.

Presuming that you're all grown up now, I highly recommend going to your local natural history/science museum/planetarium and picking some up. (chocolate, not neapolitan. man, who eats that stuff?)

This post makes me want to quit my job and work for NASA. And I love my job.
posted by phooky at 6:19 PM on December 18, 2006


This post makes me want to quit my job and work for NASA. And I love my job.

I KNOW! And I'm halfway there. All I need is a phd in physics and a 7 or 8 minute mile.
posted by muddgirl at 6:49 PM on December 18, 2006


Boy oh boy, more ISS journals:
Expedition 11's John Phillips, and Expedition 14's Michael Lopez-Alegria. And in the true spirit of blogging, Expedition 13's Jeff Williams appears to have given up on his after two posts.
posted by phooky at 8:24 PM on December 18, 2006


Hmm, tracer particles indeed.
posted by ddf at 8:40 PM on December 18, 2006


I wonder how much 'real' science is done in the ISS. I'm sure that photogenic experiments were done for publicity, but is there any cutting edge science being done there?

I'm thinking - they've taken tons of insects and small animals into space. I think they did experiments to see whether terrestrial organisms developed from a fertilized zygote into maturity in microgravity.

I haven't heard of any recent studies along the same lines that used the current understanding of embryonic development and the tools to study that.

/fly me to the ISS
posted by porpoise at 9:13 PM on December 18, 2006


IIRC the iranian bilionnaire who did some space tourism this year also had a blog.
posted by Baud at 11:22 PM on December 18, 2006


porpoise: Station Science Fact Sheets, organized by expedition.
posted by muddgirl at 9:07 AM on December 19, 2006


Have you ever wondered what cosmonauts eat?

Vodka.

What ISS astronauts do all day?

Have sex with the sexy east European cosmonauts.
posted by oxford blue at 3:59 PM on December 19, 2006


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