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57 votes
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Are all modern astronauts at least passable phlebotomists?

By my count, the OP asks three questions. I'll anecdotally answer two of them ("Is it something that most or all astronauts are capable of doing, or are there just a few "designated drivers&...
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56 votes
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Why do they have a Snellen eye chart on the ISS?

Eyes do strange things in microgravity (when you consider they're deformable bags of fluid, this isn't too surprising). This report outlines the changes that can be identified after just a short ...
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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 ...
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38 votes

Why do they have a Snellen eye chart on the ISS?

NASA has been studying the effects of microgravity on astronauts' eyes for at least a few years. This article from Space.com from 2012 talks about some of the findings from that time. In a new ...
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  • 7,054
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 ...
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36 votes
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What are the "unpleasant effects" of having a cold in microgravity?

This description of the Apollo 7 mission from NASA contains a more detailed description: Mucus accumulates, fills the nasal passages and does not drain from the head. The only relief is to blow ...
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  • 453
36 votes

Would a broken arm/ leg be more painful in zero gravity?

Yes, your fracture would still hurt in microgravity. Likely worse. Pain from a fracture comes from inflammation and soft tissue damage around the fracture, not just mechanical loading of the fracture ...
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33 votes
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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 ...
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32 votes
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Was Valentina Tereshkova pregnant while in space?

If Wikipedia page you link to can be trusted with dates, then she gave birth to her and Andriyan Nikolayev's daughter on 8 June 1964. Vostok 6 launched on 19 June 1963, and was in orbit a bit under 3 ...
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31 votes

How do EVA suits manage water excretion?

The shuttle (and ISS) EMU (Extravehicular Mobility Unit) has a condensing heat exchanger as part of its ventilation loop. The condensate is stored, used for cooling, and the excess is drained after ...
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30 votes
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Besides health benefits, what are the advantages of including inertial gravity sections on spaceships?

The presence of gravity simplifies a number of common processes. Some examples: Separating liquids from gasses, eg. getting the water out of the air after you take a shower, or removing the hydrogen ...
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28 votes
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How hard is it on the crew to go through the 14+ g's of a launchpad abort of the Soyuz, or the Falcon system?

14G sounds like a lot. To put it in context: the acceleration you can endure depends on the force vector. The position in which we can withstand G-forces best is forward (using the directions from ...
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28 votes
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Do Astronauts lose finger nails in space?

They tended to suffer painful fingernails in the Apollo days, in the Lunar Surface Journal Schmitt and Cernan gave a good description of this on several pages. There were also references made in the ...
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  • 5,148
27 votes

Does lower gravity on Mars make it unsafe and unhealthy for humans?

This is actually a good question, and one that we really don't have a good answer to. Intuitively it must be better than zero gravity, but the question is, will it be good enough. There are a host of ...
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  • 118k
25 votes
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What are the most serious injuries that astronauts have suffered while in orbit?

The crew of Apollo 7 were all ill. The commander, Wally Schirra, developed a cold and the other two crew members suffered prolonged motion sickness. Due to the illnesses, the crew failed to perform ...
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  • 6,553
23 votes

Besides health benefits, what are the advantages of including inertial gravity sections on spaceships?

It would help you to learn which plants can grow properly in a greenhouse on the moon or Mars. When a seed germinates, the root starts growing downward with gravity, and the shoot grows upward to the ...
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21 votes
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Why might an astronaut wear their wristwatch very loosely aboard the ISS?

Nice observation, he is just doing it to show off! Check these out: https://twitter.com/cmdr_hadfield/status/326727757109268481?lang=en
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19 votes

Would a broken arm/ leg be more painful in zero gravity?

More of a long comment than an answer - we don't know. The key to minimizing pain from a broken limb would be making the limb immobile. For a leg that would require the use of a splint as a primary ...
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18 votes

Was Valentina Tereshkova pregnant while in space?

It seems as though Valentina became pregnant shortly after her flight, as @TildalWave. She was worried about how her pregnancy might have been affected by her recent space flight, and it was that fact ...
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  • 118k
18 votes

What are the consequences if an astronaut's helmet gets damaged during a spacewalk?

Don't ever take what's portrayed in a scifi movie as fact. You can use the fingers on one hand to count the number of scifi movies that go out of their way to be faithful to science. "Mission to Mars ...
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18 votes

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

While I'm not sure it would qualify as a physical, bleeding injury, there was a near-death from drowning in space. Luca Parmitano, was an Italian NASA astronaut who nearly drowned during an EVA in ...
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18 votes

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

As other answers have already explained, the basic height requirement is 4 feet, 10.5 inches to 6 feet, 4 inches. However, just meeting that (and the other basic specifications) isn't going to get ...
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18 votes
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Do space suits measure "methane" levels or other biological gases?

The US's only "modern, real" space suit, the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU), was designed in the 1970s. It has a very limited sensor suite and no automation at all. The only sensors used in the ...
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18 votes
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What will happen to human body when affected by two opposing G forces?

If you imagine that in your example the rocket's engine is not initially firing. The rocket and its occupants are falling freely towards the planet below. The occupants will feel weightless, because ...
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18 votes

How are the "lucky JPL peanuts" shared post-pandemic?

People received individual packages of peanuts and could sneak one under their mask. This page shows people holding individual packages of peanuts. And this video explains the procedure briefly.
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16 votes
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Does the ISS medical inventory include a sun-tan/sunscreen lotion/cream?

Ultraviolet radiation does not get through the aluminum hull of the space station, so no such protection is needed for the crew inside. The glass of EVA suits is made not to let UV light through, ...
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16 votes
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Martian dust getting into habitats

One proposed solution to contamination of a habitat by extra-vehicular activity is a Suitport which eliminates the need to bring the suits inside. The crewmember enters and exits the suit through a ...
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15 votes

Has anyone had sex in space?

Wikipedia has an article on the topic of sex in space. The notable conclusion from that document is that no human spaceflight agency has any documentation regarding flight experiments conducted on ...
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  • 6,553
15 votes

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

Some crewmembers have been incapacitated by Space Adaptation Syndrome (SAS) as they adapt to the free fall environment. The most publicized case of this was "Payload Specialist" Jake Garn who was so ...
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15 votes
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How can astronauts on ISS deal with dental emergency?

As in all things ISS, the crew would turn to the appropriate checklist. In this case, the Medical Checklist. Its table of contents contains these dentistry-related items: Here's the first page of ...
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