What do Astronauts do for Fun in Space

Astronauts prepare for their missions long before they are scheduled to go up into space. Sometimes the preparations begin years in advance. Depending on the length of the mission, an astronaut may or may not have any free time. When they do have free time, there isn’t much of it. But here is an idea of some of the things that astronauts do in their spare time. One would hope that they would have fun doing them.


Astronauts have to work in such close quarters with one another that not talking to one another is impossible. There are times, however, when astronauts from other countries may be on a mission with American astronauts. Learning about other countries and cultures is always fun. They may share information or pictures of their families. When American astronauts spend time on the International Space Station, or when they used to spend time on Mir, they probably had a fun time trying to speak Russian to the Russian cosmonauts.


Believe it or not, sometimes astronauts do spend time on the Internet. Astronaut John Grunsfeld would send reports back to earth that were entitled John Grunsfeld Reports. They were notes from space, in the form of a kind of daily blog. He actually had a laptop in space!


One of the things that astronauts must do, regardless of whether or not it is a fun thing to do is workout in space. They have a stationary bicycle and a treadmill. This is something they must do because even short periods of zero gravity can contribute to bone loss and rapid muscle deterioration.


According to one astronaut, what could easily be considered their favorite thing to do in free time is go up to the flight deck, and look out into space when the lights are turned off. The view from the flight deck is nothing short of awe inspiring. Sometimes astronauts may take the time to watch the sunrise or sunset. Seeing either a sunrise or a sunset from far above the earth must be a breathtaking site. The shuttle orbits the earth enough times to make it possible to see sixteen sunrises and sixteen sunsets.


The entire experience of being in space is somewhat like a camping trip because the astronauts sleep in sleeping bags, again in weightlessness, and eating food that is essentially a fancier version of the military MREs, (or Meals Ready to Eat.) And the astronauts have the opportunity to choose their own meals. One French astronaut wanted to have French food, and that’s what he got. Try eating carrot sticks in zero gravity. It may turn into a game of catch.


An astronaut may take advantage of some of the high tech cameras on board the shuttle to take pictures of planet earth. If you ever get a chance to see such a photo, you will be surprised that you may be almost able to identify the place on earth. They can also take pictures of what they are seeing in space.


Occasionally, the astronauts may talk to the news media, but sometimes it is possible for the astronauts to talk to school kids, who, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, can actually see the astronauts when they are talking to them. Sometimes the astronauts take the time to answer questions.

http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/shuttle/archives/sts-109/crew/grunsfeldreports/gr3.html (Notice the picture of Dr. Grunsfeld with his laptop!)