Yesterday, NASA and the Tech Museum in San Jose hooked up some Bay Area students with a couple of floating spacemen for a little Q&A. The event was part of Destination Station, NASA’s “International Space Station Program national awareness campaign.” Video from Bay Area News Group:

International Space Station Commander Dan Burbank and Flight Engineer Don Pettit answered the following queries, among others, live from orbit via video link:

Question: “Is going to the bathroom or taking a shower in space different than on earth?”

Answer: “We don’t get to take a shower up here. We make due with towels, with soap and water, and we stay up here for six months… It’s a little like being on a camping trip for a long time… It’s really hard to manage all that water; those little droplets of water would just float around. We have a toilet that works great. We use air flow to help in the way that gravity works on earth.”

Question: “Do you get to cook your favorite food in space?”

Answer: “We really don’t cook our food. We have food that’s more like camping food. It comes in pouches and envelopes that are freeze dried, We either inject hot water into it or room temperature water. Or we put it in a food warmer, which looks a little like a suitcase, and we just rip open the package and chow down.”

And of course, you can’t escape iPad-mania even a good 240 miles above the nearest Apple store…

Question: “Do you have Internet in space and can you take your iPods and iPads?”

Answer: “I don’t own an iPad yet, but at some point that would be a really good tool to have up here… We’ve got iPods up here…we can uplink all the music we like to hear.”

More Bay Area Destination Station events are coming up. Schedule here (pdf).

Video: Bay Area Students Talk Toilets, iPads With Space Station Astronauts 8 March,2012Jon Brooks

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