Astronauts Living in Space

October 17, 2016
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NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins (left) at NASA's Mission Control in Houston chats with fellow NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio (right in blue shirt) and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata while the two men were still floating in weightlessness on the International Space Station. Hopkins returned to Earth on March 10, 2014, but spoke here with the station crew on during the National Geographic Channel'sNASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio posted this selfie snapshot of himself and NASA's Robonaut 2 robot on the International Space Station while taking part in the "Live From Space" broadcast on the National Geographic Channel on March 14, 2014.

Credit: NASA/Rick Mastracchio, via @AstroRM

Wakata treated audience members to incredible views of the Hawaiian Islands and parts of Russia through the huge seven-sided cupola window. Tyurin also helped with the broadcast, holding the camera while Wakata floated in the cupola. [See astronaut Koichi Wakata's amazing photos from space]

"Everything that we can see from here — from the space station — on the ground's surface, it's not a movie or virtual reality, " Tyurin told O'Brien during the program. "It's a real reality and since the borders aren't visible maybe it means that we don't have them at all."

The station crew discussed the dangers of space junk (they have to take shelter in lifeboat-like Russian Soyuz capsules if debris gets too close), while a pre-recorded segment touched on the dangers of spacewalks, including a near-drowning of Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano when water leaked into his spacesuit helmet last summer.

NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio posted this selfie snapshot of himself and NASA's Robonaut 2 robot on the International Space Station while taking part in theThe astronauts also touched on some of the more mundane aspects of life in space during the program. Wakata and Mastracchio also walked the audience through some of the odd differences between life in orbit and on Earth. From going to the bathroom to getting a haircut, everything is more complicated on the space station.

"It is a small toilet, and actually, part of it breaks down every once in a while and we get to work on the repair work here, " Wakata said while showing off the space potty.

Astronauts need to use a special vacuum attached to a pair of hair clippers to be sure the hair particles don't fly all over the station.

Wakata, Tyurin and Mastracchio have lived on the International Space Station since November. They recently said goodbye to three crewmates — NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins and cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy — who returned to Earth on Monday (March 10). O'Brien arranged a reunion of sorts Friday night, with Hopkins joining here in Mission Control to talk to his former crewmates.

NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins (left) at NASA's Mission Control in Houston chats with fellow NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio (right in blue shirt) and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata while the two men were still floating in weightlessness on the International Space Station. Hopkins returned to Earth on March 10, 2014, but spoke here with the station crew on during the National Geographic Channel's "Live From Space" event on March 14.

Credit: Malik

Wakata said jokingly that he wanted Hopkins back on board, if only so that the American could clean up the trash he left behind. Hopkins said he'd love to take on more trash duty if it meant a trip back into space.

But while some things are hard in space, it doesn't mean that the astronauts won't miss it when they leave.

"Once you leave here, you're really going to miss this place, " Mastracchio said. "I've been up here for four months. I've been away from home for almost six months. I know I'm going to miss the great views out the window and I'm definitely going to miss sleeping in a zero-g environment. It's absolutely fantastic. When this mission is over, I'm definitely going to be happy to go home and see my family."

Source: www.space.com
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