In the new sci-fi film, Ender Wiggin is Earth’s best hope to fight against insect-like alien creatures called “Buggers.” Ender, played by Asa Butterfield, must train at zero gravity because his battlefield will be in outer space. With the box office success of Gravity and hopefully of Ender’s Game, we decided to take a closer look at what the human body experiences when it’s weightless. It’s weirder than you might think!
Need a pee schedule
Without gravity, your urine just sort of floats in your bladder instead of pressing on your bladder muscles and telling you that your bladder is full. In space, astronauts need to remind themselves to pee. How exactly do they do it once they get the reminder? Well, the International Space Station is equipped with a special space toilet that involves placing a funnel over one’s private parts. But it gets worse. During a space walk like the one in Gravity, George Clooney would have been wearing a superabsorbent adult diaper. Don’t worry, George — even in a diaper, you’re still sexy. Sort of.
Yes, it’s as bad as it sounds. On Earth, our bodies rely on gravity to drain fluids out of our faces. Without it, fluids just sit around, causing a big, round puffy face. Funny how Sandra Bullock didn’t seem to be affected by this in Gravity. We wonder if there was a “no moon face” clause in her contract.
Yes, any space adventurer should be prepared to smell his or her worst. Body odor is just one of the many things Ender (Asa Butterfield) can expect while battling “buggers.” Yes, he can clean himself, but a regular shower won’t work. Instead, he’ll do more of a sponge bath, using premixed soap and water and a washcloth. Well, that’s one way to keep puberty awkward.
Every day is a bad hair day
Don’t even think about using hair spray in space. Without gravity, it wouldn’t make it to your head. Maybe that explains Sandra Bullock’s short cut in her outer-space thriller. To wash her hair, she’d use a special rinse-less shampoo developed for hospital patients who are unable to shower. The glamour is really starting to fade from this whole space travel thing.
Hungry? Strap in!
Of course, Petra (Hailee Steinfeld) and Ender would need to eat in space, but to keep from floating around, they’d need to attach themselves to a table with special restraints. What’s on the menu? Dehydrated food like mac and cheese, to which they’d add water. Foods with crumbs would be avoided due to the possibility of the crumbs floating into their nostrils and being inhaled. Salt and pepper are available only in liquid form.
That time of the month
In the old days, only men went into space — but we’ve come a long way, baby! One of the original concerns about sending a woman was not knowing what would happen when she menstruated. Many predicted that a condition called “retrograde menstrual flow” would occur, causing the blood to travel upward into the body instead of out. But oddly enough, female astronauts report that getting your period in space is just like getting your period on Earth — cramps included!
Given all the grooming challenges, it seems pretty unappealing, but perhaps we’d make an exception for George Clooney sans diaper. Maybe the lunch table with the all the restraints could double as a place to rendezvous because all the belts and straps would keep the couple tied up. Hmm… we’re suddenly imagining the next 50 Shades of Grey book taking place on a space station.
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Assuming a man and woman could manage sex while weightless, could she get pregnant? No one really knows, but it certainly could be risky. Without gravity, ectopic pregnancy seems like a big risk, and without Earth’s atmosphere to protect you from radiation, birth defects could result. Of course, a baby could be born in space and be perfectly healthy. We just don’t know — yet!
Forget being fashion forward at zero gravity
There are no washing machines in space, so astronauts wear cargo pants and T-shirts until they just get too stinky. After that, they remove their smelly clothes and put them into a mesh bag that is eventually disposed of with other garbage. Be sure to leave your Louis Vuitton at home!
Less likely to fall in love?
Not exactly. Your heart will shrink in zero gravity, just as all muscles do. Luckily, love is an emotion experienced in your brain, so Ender Wiggin does have a chance of winning the love of Petra Arkanian. Awww!