The weightless conditions that affect astronauts can make it difficult to carry out even very simple tasks, such as making dinner or pouring a drink, but astronaut Chris Hadfield is hoping to educate viewers and fans of space travel on how these things are done at zero-gravity; and he’s starting small, with oral hygiene.
The Canadian astronaut currently calls the International Space Station home and he has been uploading videos and pictures to the internet to show how daily activities are performed in space. He explains that brushing teeth is hard because ‘we don’t have running water. You can’t have a tap; you can’t have a sink ‘cause water would flow everywhere.’ He then goes on to demonstrate the use of water droplets from a bag that absorb into the bristles of the tooth brush, after applying a small amount of toothpaste from a tube.
After giving his teeth a good clean, Hadfield then shows viewers what to do instead of rinsing out after brushing – he simply swallows the toothpaste and water, although he doesn’t seem to enjoy it. He then adds ‘It’s edible. Won’t kill you, and what else am I gonna do? Put it in a rag and have a dirty rag? Doesn’t make any sense.’
He has also posted several other step-by-step guides on how life in the Space Station works, including how to make sandwiches, how to wash your hands, and how to cut your finger nails.
Hadfield is part of Expedition 35, which includes five other astronauts, two Americans and three Russians as part of rotational staffing of the Space Station.