Tonight my daughter asked me one of the inevitable questions of childhood: how do you go to the bathroom in space? To answer, I naturally turned to… ok, this is embarrassing for someone with three space-related technical degrees to admit – I turned to YouTube. I thought about getting out some books, making explanations, drawing pictures. But I figured the internet would not fail to provide a video, which would do a much better job of explaining than I possibly could.
The internet did not fail me. The first thing to come up in the search was a marvelous video of astronaut Sunita Williams giving a tour of the International Space Station. The video had not only a tour of the bathroom facilities, but also all the rest of the living facilities.
This was a double win, as my daughter and I got to see the kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping areas on the ISS and we also reinforced the whole “if she can see it, she can be it” concept by watching an excellent female STEM role model in action.
Here’s where the story gets really great. After watching the whole video with wide-eyed enthrallment, she looked at me and said, “Mommy, will you buckle me in and take me to the space station now?” Oh, kiddo. Would I ever love to do just that.
So it turns out explaining how astronauts go to the bathroom in space is pretty easy. Explaining to a four-year-old that we can’t just head off to visit space right now is hard. I think I lost her somewhere in between “do well in school” and “work hard” but the spark is there, at least. I have definitely passed the ‘space fever’ on to my kid!
Oh, and here’s the video:
Tomorrow I think we’ll look for some good Chris Hadfield videos as well.
Guess it’s time to start saving up for that first trip to Space Camp?