Floating high above us (about 205 miles), orbiting the Earth is a team of intrepid Astronauts living and working on the International Space Station. It’s not quite Babylon Five but it is certainly the start of the next stage of Humans exploration of space. It follows in a long(ish) line of Space stations and is the work of an incredible cooperation between the European Space Agency, NASA, The Japanese and Canada agencies and the Russian Roscosmos. It was put together in 1998 and has been in constant use since then and is going to be used until 2030. For the cost, thirty two years use is pretty good. The station is in constant orbit decay and needs visiting supply ships to push it back up into a higher orbit! It goes round the Earth 15 times a day and takes about an hour and half to do each one.
How do the Astronauts keep warm? It’s not as if they can use a gas boiler. If they did, a call to Cheltenham Boiler installation company at http://www.combi-man.com/ might be an idea to get the system installed correctly . They aren’t quite set up for upper Earth operations just yet but they can certainly deal with more down to Earth issues. Keeping warm isn’t actually a problem for the Astronauts. They are constantly exposed to the Sun’s rays as there is no atmosphere or clouds to protect them but as the Station is in a low earth orbit they do get some protection from the Earth’s magnetic belts. You generally see them in shorts and T-Shirts and the Station’s areas are partly shielded from the Sun’s rays. Even then exposure to Radiation is a problem; this is especially true if a Solar flare goes off as the Astronauts have to get into a special area that has greater shielding very quickly.
The main physical problem is their muscles being unused. There is no gravity so the Astronauts float weightless for months on end. Their muscles start to degrade and so does their skeleton as it’s simply not being used. Not only that the heart slows down, the body stops producing blood cells and the immune system becomes weaker. It’s also very tricky to sleep as you need to be anchored down otherwise you might float into something important. Worst of all they could wake up unable to breathe as a bubble of Carbon Dioxide, that they have breathed out, can form around their heads!
Luckily there is plenty to do on board to keep them occupied and the view out the window is probably the best one they will ever get to see.