In 1961, the Russian Yuri Gagarin was the first man to go into space. Ever since, astronauts from all over the world have taken part in missions. In 1995, a Russian (Valeri Polyakov) spent 437 consecutive days in space; a world record. In space, there’s no oxygen, no gravity: you can’t breathe and everything floats around!
So, how can you live in space?
Astronauts live on board the ISS — the international space station — where air contains oxygen and the atmospheric pressure is the same as on Earth. This spacecraft also protect them from the burning rays of the sun and extreme temperatures: plus or minus 150°C. The ISS is the astronauts’ home; they eat, sleep and wash themselves… And float around weightless! All the meals are in packets and contain a thick sauce so the food sticks to the fork. They drink through straws from airtight containers, otherwise liquids would make droplets in the air. So they don’t float away when sleeping, they have sleeping bags fixed to the wall... To wash themselves, they use wipes and rinse themselves bit by bit with water contained in little bags. There’s even a special bathroom! So that urine and excrement don’t float around the cabin, they are sucked down holes. Smart… Thanks to these missions, scientists can study life in space and even prepare a future trip to Mars.