High above the Earth? Drug consumption on the ISS

A digital rendering of the International Space StationThere may be little to no consumption of alcohol aboard, but there’s plenty of drugs on the International Space Station – albeit not for recreational purposes. The Discovery Space blog has a list of the contents of the ISS pharmaceutical kit-bag, of which this is just one [via SlashDot]:

Tranquilizers: […] astronauts keep a few tranqs on hand in case anyone goes all suicidal or psychotic in space. NASA recommends binding the individual’s wrists and ankles with duct tape (ever the space traveler’s friend!), strapping them down with a bungee cord and, if necessary, sticking them with a tranquilizer. Sure, it hardly makes for a civilized evening aboard ISS, but it beats someone blowing the hatch because they think they saw a something crawling on one of the solar panels.

Good old NASA, always thinking ahead. If you’re still curious about the astronaut lifestyle, Bruce Sterling has written a piece based on an interview with Nicole Stott that sums up what it’s like to live in space:

The time you spend in outer space will change your blood and hormone levels, and your bones and muscles will slowly waste away. A three-month stay is optimal; six months is pushing it. You’re going to need to get in shape and remember to pack light.

With that understood, let’s settle in. Built over the course of ten years by a wide variety of contractors­­—–and still a work in progress—–the ISS is a hodgepodge trailer camp graced with quite a lot of Russian design. It features two basic living elements: big round tubes, trucked up there in the American Space Shuttle, and smaller knobby tubes, fired up on other people’s rockets. All these pods have been snapped together, mostly end to end, or, as you’ll say on the station, “fore and aft.”

In a nutshell: it’s not exactly a five star hotel. But you know what?

I’d still go tomorrow if they gave me the chance. [image by FlyingSinger]