This is an article from Curious Kids, a series for children. The Conversation is asking kids to send in questions they’d like an expert to answer. All questions are welcome – serious, weird or wacky!
Do astronauts get space sick when they travel from Earth to the International Space Station? – The students of class 3E, Ferny Grove State School, Brisbane.
This is a great question. If any of the students of class 3E get the opportunity to fly in space, just slap on an anti-nausea skin patch and go for it! Space sickness discomfort is real but if it happens to you, it will be short and you will remember the space voyage experience forever.
Yes, astronauts can get space sick travelling to the International Space Station. It is less likely travelling in the cramped Russian Soyuz spacecraft used to transport astronauts there now, than the old Space Shuttle that was used until 2011. The ability to move around in the Space Shuttle increased the chance of space sickness happening. Space sickness affects up to half of the astronauts during their first few days on the space station.
The idea of an astronaut barfing into their space helmet sounds funny, or embarrassing, at first. However, as astronaut Mike Mullane has said in his biography, it could be fatal - particularly if the astronaut was spacewalking. The vomit could smear the inside of the helmet, blinding the astronaut. And because it could not be removed, it could be inhaled or clog their oxygen circulation system.
These days astronauts travel to the International Space Station via the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Flickr/NASA, CC BY