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Astronauts Facts & Information

written by: Lashan Clarke•edited by: RC Davison•updated: 11/1/2012

Did you know astronauts can grow taller in space? Learn many interesting facts about life in space, including what astronauts eat and what a typical weekend is like.

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    Fun Facts About Astronauts

    Here are some interesting astronaut facts that you might not know:

    Astronaut on the Moon 

    • Astronauts are people who serve on spacecraft and fly into outer space. In Russia and the former Soviet Union, they are also known as cosmonauts. As of 2010, 505 people worldwide have gone into space.
    • The pilot or commander of the space shuttle are required to fly 1,000 hours as a jet pilot before they can be selected as an astronaut, and a person has to be at least 58 inches tall to be selected for a space mission. However, astronauts can grow taller while in space, approximately up to two inches if they are there for a month. Due to lack of gravity, the spine stretches while they're in space.
    • It is possible for astronauts to spend a long time in space. The longest time spent living in outer space was 2 years and 73 days over a period between 1991 and 1999.
    • In space, it is not possible to breathe air normally, so an astronaut’s spacesuit is outfitted with oxygen so they can breathe when working work outside of the spacecraft.
    • Astronauts can urinate while wearing their spacesuits outside of the spacecraft. He or she will wear a maximum absorbency garment (MAG), which can hold up to two liters of fluid.
    • Astronauts sleep in bunk beds or in sleeping bags. However, these bunk beds must be fitted with buckles so the astronauts can buckle up. Otherwise, they might float around the spacecraft while sleeping.
    • They can choose from 70 different types of food. However, the food will either be already prepackaged for them or need just a very small amount of preparation. Sometimes when the astronauts are eating, the food will float around, as there is no gravity.
    • Common items eaten include brownies, meat, pasta, fruit and soft drinks. Astronauts must eat any fresh vegetables or fruit within two days after launch, as it quickly spoils, so the majority of fruit is dried. Any meat will have to be heat-treated to kill any bacteria that might spoil the food. Certain foods such as bread are not allowed in space as crumbs can be inhaled, get in one's eyes or damage equipment. Tortillas are given to the astronauts instead.
    • While not actively working, astronauts can read books, watch movies, or talk to family and friends on Earth. They can even use an exercise bike (they have to do a lot of exercise to stay healthy.).
    • The first living animal in orbit was a dog from Russia called Laika. She traveled into space on Sputnik 2 in 1957.
    • American astronauts have the Peanuts Comic Strip dog “Snoopy" as their safety mascot.
    • There is no wind or rain in space so an astronaut’s footprints on the Moon will remain for at least a million years.