I once thought that hell looked like an eternity on a cruise ship, trapped aboard a giant floating vessel out at sea where the novelty of amenities, endless food, and off-off-Broadway soon wears thin. But if sailing into perpetuity sounds bad, floating in a zero-gravity environment for over a year is a whole new ballgame. Or as astronaut Scott Kelly calls it, life. After setting the record for the longest time spent in space (well over a year and counting) back in October, Kelly has become accustomed to his home away from home. And as the Christian Science Monitor reports, he and his fellow astronauts have found a way to introduce some normalcy into their rather abnormal lives.
While Kelly has developed quite a Twitter following, what with his phenomenal snapshots of our planet from afar, his fans can rest assured that he doesn’t spend all day looking out the window with a camera in hand. In fact, the inhabitants of ISS still depend on us earthlings to send up entertainment (a previously postponed supply launch is planned for Sunday). Kelly and company receive books, musical instruments, and other crafting materials from those on Earth, and their day-to-day lives sometimes sounds an awful lot like ours (minus the zero-gravity environment, of course).
Astronauts are required to exercise for two hours each day, which can be done in variety of different ways, including making use of the ISS treadmill (which British astronaut Tim Peake will use to run the London Marathon next year).
They can stay in touch with loved ones via email because yes, in fact, astronauts do have access to the Internet (though it is rather slow). And thanks to the on-board ISS projector, astronauts can even watch current box-office hits, such as The Martian, though their firsthand experience probably puts Matt Damon’s acting to shame.
But as exciting as being in space and contributing to science and humanity’s advancement may be, Kelly told the Associated Press that it’s often the little things that he misses. Not being to walk on grass or feel a breeze, he notes, are real bummers after months and months away from home.
“Something people don’t recognize is that being on the space station is probably a lot like being in some kind of confinement — like isolation,” he said in a video interview with the AP. “Not having the ability to leave is … an all-present feeling.”
So here’s hoping you can come home soon, Scott.
- Returned ISS astronaut quips about what he didn’t miss on Earth
- With the ExoMars mission about to hit Martian dirt, here is what comes after
- NASA will hand over the ISS to a private company in about a decade
- Lovely day for a landing: ISS astronaut trio return to Earth
- Scott Kelly is officially hanging up his space helmet