Ask An Astronaut - Challenges of Microgravity

Have you ever wondered what it's like to live and work in space? We certainly did, so we asked NASA Astronaut, Colonel Doug Wheelock, who has spent more than 178 days in space at the International Space Station to tell us about his experience for a series we're calling "Ask An Astronaut." This time, Col. Wheelock tells us how tough it can be to live and work in a microgravity environment.

We asked NASA Astronaut, Colonel Doug Wheelock whether living and working in microgravity presents any challenges. Here's what he told us.

You have to remember that everything is floating.

So your food, he have a straw that we drink through that has a locking mechanism on it. And so in zero-G if you start drinking out of a straw, and just take the straw out of your mouth, the liquid just keeps coming out. So it can be a messy place.

You can lose tools. So if you just leave a tool floating it will kind of just float away.

Here on Earth we have a proprioceptive system in our body that kind of keeps us in balance and makes sure we don't run into anything or drive into anything. Now in space, it's all based on what's coming in through our vision, through our eyes. And so the proprioceptive system is essentially dormant, and it takes the body a little bit of time to adapt to that type of environment.

You have to be very careful and the first few days in space are usually a little bit messier as you learn to kind of clean up after of yourself and keep track of everything.