Astronauts don’t eat “space ice cream” (the dehydrated ice cream sold in many museums), NASA Astronaut Chris Cassidy shared during a rare Earth-to-space call that aired live on October 2. Seventeen high school students participating in the Society’s Science News in High Schools program had the unique opportunity to pose questions to Chris, who is aboard the International Space Station, also known as the ISS.
You can watch the full 20-minute Earth-to-space call above or by visiting NASA’s YouTube channel. Here’s a sampling of what you’ll learn from the call:
- All astronauts are required to learn another language. American astronauts study Russian and the Cosmonauts study English. Astronauts from Europe and other parts of the world study Russian. Depending on the crew, there is a mix of Russian and English spoken on the space station.
- One of the biggest myths about living in space is that the food is terrible. According to Chris, their food is flavorful. And, as referenced above – they don’t eat dehydrated ice cream.
- Lifting off into space feels like a giant person from a science fiction TV show is pushing you on the back for eight minutes, Chris shared. He said that you almost can’t tell that you’ve left the ground.
- When asked about the studies NASA is doing to research the gut microbiome, Chris shared that he is participating in a food physiology study, which requires that he eat a certain percentage of food. Chris’s body fluid samples are then frozen and brought back to earth for study.
Background and other educational materials related to the conversation can be found on the Society’s In-flight website.