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…

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Is it a bee?

Only day of summer-14

It’s summer time here in the UK and the weather has been getting warmer and sunnier. There are lots of insects buzzing around the garden and some of them have even flown into the house. My 2-year-old thinks they are all bees but most of them are actually flies. But there are lots of different species of yellow and black stripy buzzing things around at this time of year, so how can you tell them apart?

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If there were no trees, would there still be enough oxygen for us to breathe?

BreconBeacons43

Air is mostly made up of a gas called nitrogen. But about one-fifth of the air (21%) is oxygen – the gas our bodies use when we breathe.

All living things need oxygen in order to stay alive but plants, algae and a group of bacteria called cyanobacteria, can also make oxygen. These plants, algae and cyanobacteria make more oxygen than they use and the extra oxygen goes back into the air. So, the oxygen is sort-of recycled, rather than used up.

Plants like trees use their leaves to make oxygen. But what if there were no trees left on Earth – would there still be enough oxygen in the air for us to breathe?

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Is oil really made of dead dinosaurs?

dinosaurs

Oil is a type of fuel, which means that it is something we use to make energy. We burn oil to heat buildings and to make electricity, and we use it to make petrol and diesel for cars and other vehicles. There are also some rather surprising uses for oil, including chewing gum, lipstick and guitar strings!

But what is oil? How is it made? And does it really come from dead dinosaurs?

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Can you have backwards numbers?

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Numbers are useful for counting and measuring things. We use them all the time, even when we’re not thinking about maths. For example, I use them every day, for telling the time, cooking, exercising and driving my car.

Normally when we count, we start at zero and count upwards in whole numbers: one, two, three, and so on… But what happens if we count down from a bigger number – do we have to stop when we get back to zero?

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