The International Space Station ? which is coming up on a decade of continuous human habitation ? is a celebrated success in our species' quest to learn to live in space. Yet life in orbit has its serious trials, and mishaps along the way have proven just how much we still have to learn about being a spacefaring civilization.
In honor of Halloween, here are 10 ways space station living can become a little horror story:
10. Fingernails fall off
The spacesuit gloves astronauts wear while working outside the station during spacewalks have proven to be hazardous to their health.
A recent study found that about 10 percent of astronauts are victims of "fingernail trauma" from gloves, with a number of them losing a fingernail entirely because the glove pinched their fingers and reduced circulation.
Typically, the damage is worse the larger an astronaut's hand is.? Maybe NASA should look for petite spaceflyers.
9. Weightless worries
Weightless living can have some pretty odd consequences without even going outside. Take, for example, the attack of the flying wasabi.
In March 2007 astronaut Sunita Williams was trying to squeeze some of the spicy green condiment onto her makeshift space sushi, when a squirt got loose, ultimately splattering the walls with wasabi and hiding stray droplets around the module.
It took a while to get the wasabi smell out after it had flown all over the place, Williams said at the time. And she had to forgo wasabi on future space meals, saying it was just "too dangerous."
8. Rough ride
While floating on the space station can be fun, getting to and from it can be a rough ride. Trips on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, in particular, reportedly pack quite a punch of G forces.
"I've heard it described as a train wreck followed by a car crash followed by falling off your bike, " NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson said recently before she flew home from the station on one herself.
After she had experienced the trip, she said the rumors were dead on.
"It certainly didn?t disappoint, " Caldwell Dyson told SPACE.com after her return. "All the bangs, bells, whistles and sensations were there. The magnitudes of some things were a little surprising, but for the most part it was a pretty exciting ride."
7. Space diet of baby food
Fresh fruit and vegetables are scarce, for example, and ground staples like bread are impractical because they leave crumbs, which in microgravity fly around everywhere instead of settling on the floor, and become a disaster to clean up. (Instead astronauts favor tortillas, which create fewer crumbs).
And astronauts tend to get sick of the same roster of re-heatable meals rotated on an eight-day schedule.