Can You Vacuum in a Vacuum?

When it comes to astronauts and space travel, I wonder this and that. I wonder how they survive in a closed craft and not get claustrophobia. I wonder how they eat, sleep, and attend to personal needs. How does the toilet work? Do they eat their meals raw? Are they comfortable in their space gear and when do they get to take it off? I wonder if they call home and I wonder if they ever get bored. I wonder if they are comfortable and if the spacecraft gets dirty. Given weightlessness, does debris float up into the air. How do they clean it up?

Yes, I have a lot of questions. It’s fun to speculate and almost put yourself in their shoes. I know they have much to do wile in space what with all the scientific experiments. Is there anything mundane that goes on? When they get to the space station, do they need to clean any part of it up? I am into cleaning today having just vacuumed my house. Oddly enough, I am picturing two guys in spacesuits maneuvering a cheap Hoover like the ones at There is no maid service so everything galls to them. They are not too proud to do chores. Ha!

I could get more technical and ask about the operation of the spacecraft and how much they do compared to the engineers on earth. What happens when there is a malfunction? How has space exploration helped other industries? I think the answer will bore you. It is more fun to see astronauts in their work environment. I would love to create “a day in the life” scenario, beyond vacuuming. Ha!

I would start with the fact that while they orbit, every 24 hours, the astronauts will get to see 15 dawns. This is amazing. How do they cope with a different cycle? Is it hard to deal with? I guess they have fixed schedules that work with normal circadian rhythms. I wonder if they get jet lag? Now there’s a question! Also, do they dream about weightlessness?

I know they sleep in bags hooks to the spacecraft wall. There is regulated airflow using special filters so the crew doesn’t become inundated by their exhaled carbon dioxide. More facts: some astronauts have likened their experience to living inside a giant vacuum cleaner because of the noise. (There is that vacuum issue again.) I doubt if they could sleep floating free? What do you think?

I imagine that they do not sleep in work clothing. I have read that they have disposable garb; hence no washing machines needed. Facilities are limited to washing with wet towels. They need it since they work hard. More facts: shaving is difficult as water and shaving cream get stuck to the face. Using an electric shaver is no better as you need a suction fan to keep hairs from floating away. Fascinating, but why shave at all?

My last question: what do they do after work for fun? Do they exercise? You bet. I learned that the human body loses bone and muscle in space. They also enjoy DVDs, using a ham radio, writing home, etc.