House Of Random

Sunday, September 24, 2006


When I was a child the one thing I wanted to do was to go to space. I loved it, and I had all these amazing books and pictures of it. I still find it beautiful, and even though I might never go there, I still gaze up at the stars in wonder of what it may be like.

So imagine how happy it made me to discover Anousheh Ansari's blog. And how amazing some of her words are, as she describes her journey to the ISS.

I took a motion sickness pill on the launch pad which was great. When we got to orbit I felt fine and I was able to look out the window as the world kept spinning around us, or more correctly I should say, we spun around the world.

They usually say you should not do that the first day because it will make you sick. Well… I just couldn’t resist…

She goes on to describe the symptoms of space sickness, which is really intriguing - I never really thought about the fact you might get sick, as obvious as it seems to me now.

I was having two more space flight symptoms. The first one was lower back pain. Basically your spine stretches because of the fluid and you get taller. I was happy about being taller but the pain was not fun.

The second symptom was fluid shift to the head. Because gravity is not there to help the blood that is pumped by your heart go down to your feet, it accumulates in your head, so your face gets puffy and red and you get a headache. It sort of feels like when you do a headstand for a long period of time.

However, the best bit of her blog concerns her experience of docking with the ISS, and stepping into the airlock, which until pressurised contained only the vacuum of space. It is something I have never thought of - and I love it when I'm introduced to revelations such as this - Space has a smell.

Finally the moment arrived and they were ready to open the hatch. Mike and Misha called me closer and told me to take a good whiff because this would be the first time I would smell “SPACE.”

They said it is a very unique smell. As they pulled the hatch open on the Soyuz side, I smelled “SPACE.” It was strange… kind of like burned almond cookie. I said to them, “It smells like cooking” and they both looked at me like I was crazy and exclaimed:”Cooking!”


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Words, thoughts, dreams & ideas, dirtySi, London, UK, from the year 2005 onward