Chinese astronauts live colorful life in outer space

(People's Daily Online) 17:46, August 27, 2021

Three Chinese astronauts have been living a colorful life and staying healthy in China’s space station core module Tianhe for more than two months, thanks to the application of modern technologies and equipment.

The astronauts – Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo – who are scheduled to stay in space for three months, have continued to maintain healthy diets. They can choose between 120 kinds of space food that tastes good and provides balanced nutrition. These foods, including staple foods, non-staples, desserts, meat and vegetables, have been specifically designed for them according to their personal flavor preferences. Tianhe’s dining area is also equipped with a food heating device so that the astronauts can enjoy hot food.

A video snapshot shows three Chinese astronauts in China’s space station core module Tianhe.

The astronauts have access to a safe and reliable water supply from the space station’s environmental control and life support system, which plays a vital role in water recycling and can likewise provide a means to recycle other water sources. It can collect the water vapor exhaled by astronauts via a condensing and drying module. The condensate is then converted into recycled water for drinking with the help of a purification device. With the system, the urine produced by the astronauts can also be collected and treated into purified water.

Meanwhile, a supply of water was delivered by the Tianzhou-2 cargo craft to the space station before the astronauts were sent into space.

The astronauts engage in physical fitness and exercises to reduce the physiological effects of living in a microgravity environment. In Tianhe’s exercise area, they can use a treadmill, spin bike and resistance bands to practice strength training in order to prevent muscle atrophy and weakening of the bones.

They have personalized daily exercise schedules according to their physical conditions. The intensity of their daily exercises has reached 60 to 80 percent of their maximum strength, which will gradually increase as their time in space progresses.

With dozens of pieces of medical equipment in Tianhe’s checkup cabinet, the astronauts will have regular physical checkups every four to five weeks, including ultrasound examinations and complete blood counts, fundus examinations, and bone mineral density tests.

Thanks to the use of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies, and space-Earth communication links, including two-way video calls and e-mail messages, the three astronauts, who are equipped with mobile phones, tablets and bone conduction headsets, can browse the news, watch videos, and launch video chats with the ground team and their families. These are effective means to promote psychological ease among the astronauts, who live nonstop in an enclosed environment, which may affect their psychological condition. Not long ago, they watched video playbacks of Table Tennis and Diving competitions of the Tokyo Olympic Games, which were recorded by the staff at the control center on the ground, and then uploaded to the space station.

Researchers have developed a system based on virtual reality technology to help the astronauts relax, and have set up a private voice call channel for them, which they can use to “talk about personal matters” with their families and share their feelings with people on the ground.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)


Related Stories