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How to clip your fingernails in space without inhaling them

Everyday activities, like nail trimming, become challenging when you have to do them while floating around inside the International Space Station.

Astronaut Chris Hadfield clipping nails
Astronaut Chris Hadfield demonstrates safe clipping in space. Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield is known for playing his guitar in zero gravity on the International Space Station. To keep his fingers in playing shape, he has to keep his nails clipped. Down here on Earth, that's no problem -- you just grab some clippers and go at it. In space, it's a little more complicated.

Hadfield demonstrates his trimming method in a video released by the Canadian Space Agency. The first step is to procure a nail clipper. This is just like our Earth nail clippers, except it has Velcro on it to keep it from floating around and bumping into astronauts or machinery.

It would be tempting to just start clipping away, but flying nail bits can be hazardous in space. The last thing you want is an accidental inhalation or getting one stuck in your eye. These are the sort of things astronauts have to worry about.

The secret to corralling those clippings is to find a duct where air is pulled in. Cut your nails right above it and all those little pieces get sucked down to the vent. They just sit there against the mesh filter until someone comes along to vacuum them up later. Mission accomplished!

(Via Neatorama)