How do astronauts do their hair (and go to the loo) in space?

Moon Day 12
Moon Day 12

Have you ever looked up at the night sky and wondered what it would be like to travel into space? Nearly 50 years ago, Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the Moon and there are astronauts in space right now, living and working on the International Space Station.

A few weeks ago, my 2-year-old asked me to give her ‘astronaut hair’ for pre-school. I just swizzled her hair up into a pair of twisty buns (a bit like Topsy’s hair in Topsy and Tim) but I spent the rest of the day wondering, how do astronauts wash and comb their hair in space?

So, let’s find out more about life on the International Space Station…

I found this fantastic ‘how to’ video by astronaut, Karen Nyberg, about washing long hair on the International Space Station. And this complete bathroom tour by another astronaut, Samantha Cristoforetti.

You’ll notice that Karen has long hair that floats around her head. That’s because there’s not much gravity on the space station, so things don’t stay ‘downwards’ like they do here on Earth. See how Karen and Samantha have to stick everything down so it doesn’t float away. And watch what happens to the water when they squeeze it out of the pouches!

In her video, Karen mentions putting her hair in a ponytail. So, I guess that when they are working, astronauts who have long hair tie it up tightly so that it doesn’t get in their way. But when they are relaxing it might be quite fun to have their hair all floaty?!

So, there you have it – astronauts in space do their hair in almost the same way as we do on Earth.

But, if you’re anything like my nephew, there’s probably one follow-up question on your lips: how do astronauts go to the loo in space? (Well, everybody has to wee and poo…!). Thankfully, when he visited the International Space Station, Tim Peake made a video about it to give us the answer.

Finally, I must thank my friend Alex (@brickitpro) once more for his amazing Moon photo. Thanks, Alex!


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