Have you ever been on a really long trip, and it felt like it took forever to get where
Well, how would you like to take a long trip into space?
That might sound like something you’ve read about in a book or seen in a movie, but for
a select few people, it’s real life!
I’m talking about the astronauts who live in space for months at a time, on the Internationals
The International Space Station — or ISS for short — is in orbit above Earth.
Astronauts live and work up there doing science experiments and learning about life in space.
To get there, astronauts are carried up into space by rockets. And when they go home, they
ride in space capsules that fall back to Earth.
Let’s take a closer look.
Those big, flat shiny things are solar panels, and they provide energy for the space station.
They capture sunlight and they turn it into electricity. The space station uses that electricity
to power lights and computers and everything else that makes the ISS go.
This is a robot arm. Astronauts inside the station use this arm, by remote control, to
fix things on the outside of the ISS.
Although it might not look like it, the space station is kind of like a big house.
It has 5 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen — which astronauts call a galley — and they
even have a laboratory, just like we do at the fort.
But as you can imagine, life on the space station is a lot different than it is back
home on Earth.
For one thing, all of the water that astronauts use has to be flown up by rockets. Since it’s
so hard to get up there, water is only used for drinking and eating.
So astronauts don’t take baths or showers with water. Instead, they wash up with special
But probably the biggest difference is that there’s much less gravity up in the space
station than there is here on Earth. Instead of sticking to the ground like we do at home,
astronauts up there just float around!
So, in a way, it’s a lot easier for the astronauts to move around, because there’s
less gravity. But after a couple of days in space, their muscles actually get weak. So
astronauts on the space station have to exercise at least two hours every day to give their
muscles a workout.
But the rest of the time, the astronauts are conducting experiments!
They’ll study plants to see how they grow in space, and they’ll study small animals,
like fish, to see how their muscles do in low gravity.
They even study how robots work in space.
Say hello to Robonaut 2. He’s a robot, like Squeaks, who lives on the space station full
time — He’s on board so astronauts can see if robots work as well in space as they
do on Earth.
R2, as his friends call him, can use tools, and even go on a spacewalk by himself.
Spacewalks are when astronauts leave the space station in a spacesuit, to do work on the
outside of the station.
But they don’t do them very often. Spacewalks are only for when astronauts need to fix things
on the ISS or to gather information for experiments.
So life on the International Space Station is hard work, and it’s really different
than life at home. But if you ask me, the astronauts who get to go there are pretty
lucky — because they actually get to live in space!
Thanks for joining us on SciShow Kids. Maybe one day, if you work really hard, you can
go to the ISS! See you next time.