Watch how space station astronauts get ready for bed

Astronaut Matthias Maurer of the European Space Agency (ESA) has shared a video showing how he prepares for a night’s sleep aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

As you might expect, the routine is much like the one on Earth — except for all the floating and other challenges caused by the microgravity.

Maurer has been aboard the space station for nearly six months now, so he has had plenty of time to perfect his nighttime routine.

The German’s slumber sessions take place at CASA (Crew Alternate Sleep Accommodation), located in the European Science Laboratory Module of Columbus.

“But before floating there in his sleeping bag for the night, Matthias makes a small detour to one of the three ‘bathrooms’ currently on board the space station,” ESA said in comments to the video. “Separated from the work areas and installed in different modules of the US orbital segment and the Russian segments of the station to give them some privacy, the astronauts on board share these bathrooms to wash, take a ‘shower’ in space and brush their teeth. teeth.”

Maurer says he can use a much smaller amount of toothpaste in space than on Earth because it foams much more easily than on the ground. When he’s done brushing his teeth, he spits the foam into a towel.

“Showing”, as you can see in the video, is little more than a damp cloth, with the lack of gravity making it impossible to enjoy a more familiar type of washing experience.

Viewers may be surprised to see so many liquid droplets drifting away as Maurer pours the water onto the cloth and begins to wash his face. Asked in a Q&A piece on his blog whether the drops could damage the electronics on board, Maurer assures us it’s safe.

“The washrooms we have are in separate locations where we also have shower curtains and no critical electronics,” explains the astronaut.

“In addition, all electronic points of sale must have a cap. You would never leave an electronic outlet open, with all the pins open, allowing liquid or dust to get into it. But it’s true, some computer systems have fans and areas where liquid can get sucked in, but I think the selection of all hardware is made in a way to protect against that as well. So we have to make sure that we don’t spray liquid around and if there are any droplets around we have to wipe them away. But the environment here is quite resilient and robust and can handle some small droplets.”

Maurer then floats away to his sleeping pod in the Columbus module and finds time to check his laptop for important messages before going inside. The capsule is large enough for one person, with the astronaut usually climbing into a sleeping bag attached to the side to stop them floating around while taking a nap.

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