Dublin: -2 °C Friday 1 December, 2023
Space Oddity

7 of the best bits from Commander Chris Hadfield's AMA

The retired astronaut returned to Reddit for the third time to answer all our pesky questions. He really loves us.

christhad Twitter / Cmdr_Hadfield Twitter / Cmdr_Hadfield / Cmdr_Hadfield

EVER WONDERED ABOUT what would happen to your bodily functions in space?

Commander Chris Hadfield is here to help in his latest Ask Me Anything, thanks to Reddit.

Hafield has previously done two Ask Me Anythings, one before his flight and one during his time on the ISS. What can we say? Everyone has a lot of questions about space.

Here are some of the best bits from his post-touchdown AMA.

You can’t burp in space:

Hi Co. Chris! Really important question. Do you fart more or less in space?
More – because it’s impossible to burp when weightless (the gas, liquid and solid in your stomach all mix together. As an experiment, try standing on your head and burping.

Sneezing is problematic:

When we have to sneeze in our spacesuit, we lean our heads forward and sneeze into our chest, to keep it from splattering on the visor. Still messy, but the best compromise – clean it up when you de-suit.

And vomiting is troublesome as well:

We very seldom get sick on ISS. There’s no one to catch a cold from. The worst that can happen to is get a headache (they feel the same, take a headache pill, no biggie), or to get injured (I scraped my knee on a sharp corner).Throwing up is problematic, as without gravity, your vomit bounces back off the other side of the barf bag into your face. Plan ahead, bring a cloth to clean up. And tightly seal the bag – you live in the same air as the trash.

cmdrhad Twitter / Cmdr_Hadfield Dublin as seen from space. Twitter / Cmdr_Hadfield / Cmdr_Hadfield

He enjoyed Gravity:

Gravity is visually the most realistic spacewalking movie ever made. I’ve done 2 spacewalks. They got the immensity and tumult of it just right, the feeling of tininess in a vast universe, with an ever-omnipresent Earth. The story line is very Hollywood, with lots of technical errors and oversights, but it’s not intended to be a documentary or training film. It’s just entertainment, and Sandra Bullock does a great job with her role, triumphing over adversity. As an engineer and astronaut I can easily criticize it, but why would I? Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the spectacle.

He believes ‘something is out there’:

Our best telescopes have shown us that there is basically an unlimited number of planets in the universe. To think that Earth is the only one where life could have developed is just self-importance.But to think that intelligent life has traveled all the way here and is sneaking around observing us is also just self-importance.The universe is basically endless. We have not yet found life anywhere but on Earth, but we’re looking for it, to the best of our technical ability. All else is wishful thinking and science fiction.

Astronauts sometimes get stuck floating in the middle of rooms on the ISS:

You can get stuck floating in the center of Node 1, where open space is biggest due to hatches on all sides. But ISS has fans and forced air to mix and refresh the internal atmosphere, so there’s always a small crosswind. Wait long enough, you’ll get pulled to an air inlet.

But farts will not help you get unstuck, somewhat unsurprisingly:

I wonder if farting would push you far enough to get unstuck?
We all tried it – too muffled, not the right type of propulsive nozzle :)

Here’s when you can finally meet Commander Chris Hadfield>

Commander Chris Hadfield is having a tough time readjusting to gravity>