Skip to main content
179 votes
Accepted

Who was the first human to sleep - perchance to dream - on the Moon?

(A) who (if anyone) was the first human to actually be asleep (that is to say, presumably inside the lander) - not just a scheduled sleep time - on the Moon? It depends on your definition of sleep. ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
151 votes
Accepted

Do astronauts use plumber's bifocals?

Well, at least during the Space Shuttle era, some did. I remember, as I aged into my 40's, getting disgruntled during training events in the Shuttle Mission Simulator, as I was beginning to have ...
Digger's user avatar
  • 4,185
132 votes
Accepted

Could Apollo astronauts stand up if they fell on the moon?

I believe it was John Young, during an Apollo 16 EVA fell to the lunar surface. Though awkward, he got up unassisted by attempting a series of what looks like push-ups until he was able to get ...
Bob516's user avatar
  • 6,939
73 votes

Did the Apollo astronauts ever take any medications while on their mission in order to calm their nerves?

From the Apollo Program Summary Report: All missions used skin cream to treat irritation caused by the biosensors. Apollo 7: All three crew members developed colds (which led to the infamous "mutiny")...
DrSheldon's user avatar
  • 48k
67 votes
Accepted

Is the Skylab 4 mutiny just a myth?

Background I believe the astronomy.com article is essentially accurate. The story of the Skylab 4 "mutiny" or "strike" has been greatly exaggerated. The crew took a scheduled rest day instead of ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
60 votes
Accepted

When did Jack Swigert realize that he forgot to file his taxes?

Jack Swigert realized that he forgot to pay his taxes around the first hour of the second day. Here's the dialogue from the Apollo 13 transcript: Note, Jack Swigert is the CMP (Command Module Pilot), ...
Star Man's user avatar
  • 5,928
57 votes

Could Apollo astronauts stand up if they fell on the moon?

As always, the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal is a treasure trove of annotated examples. During the later (J) missions in particular, Ed Fendell, remotely operating the rover's TV camera, managed to ...
GNiklasch's user avatar
  • 1,410
57 votes
Accepted

If an astronaut needs to go to the toilet during launch, what can they do and what do they need to do?

They use three high-tech procedures: They schedule and ration their fluid and food intake. They go to the bathroom before the trip. They wear diapers, sorry, I meant Maximum Absorbency Garment. In ...
Jörg W Mittag's user avatar
52 votes
Accepted

Did any astronauts on a mission complain about waking up?

There are at least two papers by Jack Stuster on an ISS crew conditions study: Behavioral Issues Associated with Isolation and Confinement: Review and Analysis of Astronaut Journals. They anonymize ...
Erin Anne's user avatar
  • 11.5k
50 votes
Accepted

Do astronauts live longer than earthlings?

Correlation is not causation. The time dilation effects are indeed present, but they account for making the astronauts "younger" by a couple milliseconds over their lifetime. Not something detectable ...
SF.'s user avatar
  • 55k
46 votes
Accepted

Did the astronauts seated on the space shuttle mid-deck have responsibilities during reentry and landing?

There were no nominal activities for the middeck crew related to flying the vehicle. There were no switches or controls on the middeck accessible to seated crewmembers in the ascent/entry seats. The ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
45 votes

What are the most serious injuries that astronauts have suffered while in orbit?

The Mars Society has a good indication of what the most serious medical issues have been in space flight. These include: A number of cases where the gloves leaked in an EVA. (STS-37, Mir Space ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
44 votes
Accepted

Have there ever been people trapped in a shut down spacecraft?

Seeing as the answer is "no" (As per @DarkDust), I thought I'd add a situation that's similar. There was a short period aboard Mir after the collision with progress where all astronauts were without ...
Magic Octopus Urn's user avatar
38 votes

How tall do you have to be to be an astronaut?

Straight from the NASA website, there are actually just a few requirements you need to meet to become an astronaut: A Bachelor's degree in engineering, biological science, physical science, or ...
Phiteros's user avatar
  • 5,626
37 votes
Accepted

What happens to astronaut sweat on the ISS?

They keep the ISS at a pretty comfortable temperature and humidity level, so there's not much sweat accumulation except when they're working out. For that, they use towels. The sweat that they do ...
Tristan's user avatar
  • 17.3k
36 votes
Accepted

Why was there a minimum height for astronauts?

Everything that must interface with the human body must be designed to fit a certain range of body sizes. For example, in the early days of shuttle when airline-like operations were envisaged, the ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
35 votes
Accepted

Do Astronauts have their appendix removed?

No, but it is being considered, in particular for long duration deep space missions like going to the Moon. ISS astronauts could return to Earth in a short enough period of time that they could ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
33 votes
Accepted

Were any of the Apollo astronauts smokers and did that cause any problems?

In the early years of the Space program, smoking everywhere was considered normal. But NASA was ahead of its time. After members of the "Original Seven" were seen smoking on TV, NASA was ...
TrySCE2AUX's user avatar
  • 3,255
32 votes

Could Apollo astronauts stand up if they fell on the moon?

Despite Charlie Duke's concern about it, given that the PLSS is massive, and would shift an astronaut's center of gravity far back from their natural distribution, it would be surprising if the ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
32 votes
Accepted

Would an astronaut experience a force during a gravity assist maneuver?

If the only acceleration is due to the large mass's gravity, and the mass is not exceptionally large, or exceptionally close (i.e. close approach to a black hole or a neutron star), the astronaut will ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
30 votes
Accepted

Who were the youngest and oldest persons in space?

As of October 13, 2021, the oldest person to fly in space is Canadian actor William Shatner (T.J. Hooker, Boston Legal), aged 90. This was a brief suborbital flight above the Kármán line on Blue ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
30 votes
Accepted

How far have astronauts been in space?

Twelve Apollo astronauts landed on and walked on the Moon Twelve more Apollo astronauts orbited the Moon without landing So that's twenty-four individuals that count towards "(except for the ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
29 votes

Have there ever been people trapped in a shut down spacecraft?

No, there have not. So far all astronauts have made it back to earth, though not all of them alive. The only casualties in space (above the Kármán line) are the crew of Soyuz 11 who were still in ...
DarkDust's user avatar
  • 12.5k
29 votes
Accepted

Have any astronauts/cosmonauts died in space?

The only casualties in space (above the Kármán line) are the crew of Soyuz 11 who were still in orbit when they died but about to reenter the atmosphere. All other casualties like Komarov in Soyuz 1 ...
DarkDust's user avatar
  • 12.5k
29 votes

If an astronaut needs to go to the toilet during launch, what can they do and what do they need to do?

One of the main traditions and rituals of Soviet cosmonautics- all crew must urinate on the right rear wheel of their bus: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20140610-the-strange-rituals-of-cosmonauts ...
A. Rumlin's user avatar
  • 7,863
28 votes
Accepted

Is the weightlessness in a swimming pool the same as in outer space?

No. Water supports your body by applying pressure to your skin, with a bit higher pressure on the bottom due to being deeper. This supports the body as a whole quite nicely, but all of your insides ...
CuteKItty_pleaseStopBArking's user avatar
27 votes
Accepted

Were cosmonauts equipped with poison pills?

I went on a quest to try and get the sources for all the citations for that article; I was partially successful. I have FOIA requests out for the documents I was not able to find on the internet, and ...
Mark Omo's user avatar
  • 5,291
26 votes
Accepted

How close was the ISS to running out of supplies after the failure of CRS-7?

Hobbes' answer to How long can a 2 person crew survive on ISS totally cut from Earth? has links to articles that include NASA press releases from around that time. In Progress Failure Puts Burden on ...
Erin Anne's user avatar
  • 11.5k
26 votes
Accepted

Why would astronauts need a wristwatch and a separate timer?

(Shuttle-centric answer, but concept likely applies to other spacecraft, especially involving crew who flew on the shuttle) "Egg timers" were utilized heavily on the shuttle to time multiple ...
Organic Marble's user avatar

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible