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Questions & Answers

Questions & Answers

Q. What happens if you bleed in space?

Q. Do astronauts wear diapers?

Q. How long do astronauts spend in space?

Q. Can I see the International Space Station from my backyard?

Q. Can you propel yourself by farting in space?

A panel of experts answer your space questions. Can't find an answer? Submit your question.

Q. What happens if you bleed in space?

A. By Pauline Landry - School Programmes Officer at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre in Vancouver

When an astronaut gets a cut in space, blood comes from the wound just like it does on Earth. However, it doesn't run or drip along your skin. In microgravity, the ball of blood separates from your skin and floats in the air like a tiny red ball.

Q. Do astronauts wear diapers?

A. By Pauline Landry - School Programmes Officer at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre in Vancouver

Astronauts wear diapers during lift-off, reentry, and while on spacewalks. As soon as the spacecraft reaches orbit astronauts remove their orange survival suits (diapers included) and put on regular clothes for the rest of the mission. Because astronauts sit on the launch pad, strapped into their seats for over three hours, they all have to wear diapers. Astronauts also wear diapers when they are working in space during spacewalks which normally last 5-8 hours. In both cases, changing out of the spacesuit to go to the bathroom just takes too long.

Q. How long do astronauts spend in space?

A. By David Dodge - Astronomer at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre in Vancouver How long astronauts spend in space depends on the mission they have been assigned. Normally the space shuttle spends no more than a week in space but they can almost double that if the Extended Duration Pallet is installed. This gives the shuttle and the astronauts more air and fuel. The astronauts and cosmonauts on the International Space Station stay on board for 3 or more months doing extended research in a number of disciplines including the effects of long term exposure to low gravity.

Q. Can I see the International Space Station from my backyard?

A. By David Dodge - Astronomer at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre in Vancouver

The orbit of the International Space Station passes over about 95% of the world's population. This means that, over time, 95% of the world can see the ISS. However, spotting the ISS requires it to be illuminated by the sun and you to be in darkness. For the most part this means that the ISS can be seen shortly after sunset or prior to sunrise. Exactly when the ISS passes over a given site changes over time and you can predict those times by checking out NASA's web site or Heavens Above or even download software to make your own predictions. In any of these cases, you will need to know, within a few kilometers, the latitude and longitude of your location. Heavens Above has an extensive data base from which to choose.

Q. Can you propel yourself by farting in space?

A. By Chris Hadfield - CSA Astronaut

If you?re caught in the middle of the Space Station and you're absolutely motionless, you can gyrate yourself around like a cat in flight that flips - its front and then its back and it ends up feet down to land. You can pivot yourself in space, but the only way to start motion, is to inhale one direction and exhale the other direction, and that way you can get at least a little bit of propulsion going. We?ve even taken vacuum cleaners up there and wrapped our legs around it to see if we could ride the vacuum cleaner and if it would blow us around, but it?s extremely ineffective. And I think the type of propulsion you?re talking about is even less effective. So if you?re trapped in the middle of space ... you need help.

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