Life aboard the ISS (pictures)

What's it like to live in space? Here's how astronauts aboard the International Space Station eat, exercise, sleep, and relax.

James Martin
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Life aboard the ISS (pictures)

Astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko are preparing to spend an entire year aboard the International Space Station, hoping to give NASA more insight into the effects on humans of long-term exposure to space, and paving the way for expeditions to Mars in the coming decades.

The yearlong ISS mission will begin in 2015 and for Kelly and Kornienko will present the challenge of living in a confined space -- eating, sleeping, exercising, and relaxing in a highly technical, cramped environment.

What will that life be like? In this gallery we'll get an idea, by taking a look back at previous scenes of life among the stars.

Above, we see cosmonaut Yury Usachev sorting food in the kitchenlike corner of the Zvezda service module aboard the International Space Station on July 16, 2001.
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A space haircut

Living among the stars isn't all about the more formal professional duties, life's basic necessities must be taken care of as well. You don't have to do things like go to the bank or pick the kids up from school, but you do need to shower, clean your clothes, and get a haircut. If you're staying on the International Space Station for a whole year, personal care, fun, and relaxation will be essential ingredients in your quality of life.

Here, Robert Thirsk gives himself a haircut in the weightlessness of the ISS. The vacuum-connected clippers ensure the clipped hairs don't get away and float around the station.
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Leisure life in space

Leisure activities might include watching movies, reading books, playing cards, talking to the families via video linkup, or even just looking out the window. The residents of the ISS also have an exercise bike, a treadmill, and various other equipment to help keep their bodies in shape.

Here, astronaut, musician, and songwriter Chris Hadfield shows off his chops on a foldable SoloEtte guitar, on the Russian Mir space station on his first spaceflight, in 1995.
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Meal planning

Astronaut Richard Searfoss organizes the food aboard the space shuttle Columbia on April 18, 1998. Velcro is used to attach the food packets to trays.
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Family dinners in the Unity node

In the Unity node of the ISS, crew members gather for a meal on November 23, 2009, while space shuttle Atlantis is docked with the station.
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Dinner date in space

Eight astronauts and cosmonauts are seen here on July 21, 2009, during a meal aboard the International Space Station.
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A fun group photo

A Hawaiian-themed group photo in the Raffaello Multi-Purpose Logistics Module on the ISS, April 26, 2001.
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Exercise and leisure time

James Voss reads "The Last of the Mohicans" while exercising on the cycle ergometer in the Zvezda Service Module on April 25, 2001.
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Running on a treadmill

Astronaut Steven Hawley runs on a treadmill on the middeck of the space shuttle Columbia. The exercise is part of an experiment to evaluate the Treadmill Vibration Isolation System, as planned hardware for the International Space Station.
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Working out on the shuttle

Astronaut Richard Linnehan works out in the Life and Microgravity Spacelab Science Module aboard the Earth-orbiting space shuttle Columbia. Away from the Earth's gravity, crew members must maintain health and muscle mass by way of routine workouts.
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On the bicycle ergometer

Astronaut Rhea Seddon takes a spin on the bicycle ergometer while astronaut Tammy Jernigan assists in the monitoring experiment.
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Fast asleep in space

Astronauts Pam Melroy (left), George Zamka (bottom right), and Paolo Nespoli doze in their sleeping bags, which are secured on the middeck of the space shuttle Discovery while docked with the International Space Station.

Typically, astronauts are scheduled to get eight hours of sleep at the end of each mission day. Much like sleep on Earth, though, they may wake up in the middle of their sleep to use the toilet, or stay up late and look out the window. As when sleeping on Earth, astronauts may have dreams and nightmares, and even snore.
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Sleep-monitoring equipment

John Glenn decked out in sleep-monitoring equipment, stands near his sleep station on the middeck of the Earth-orbiting space shuttle Discovery in 1998.

Things like motion sickness and the very excitement of being in space can cause disruptions to an astronaut's sleep patterns. The accommodations are tight, and the crew can easily hear one another. And then there's the frequent rising of the Sun: every 90 minutes during a mission. Some astronauts use sleep masks to shield their eyes from the sunlight coming in through the windows.
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Sleeping in zippered bags

An astronaut snoozes in a zippered sleeping bag fastened to the wall on a 1983 mission.
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Sleep stations

Astronaut Mark Polansky communicates with ground controllers from the middeck of the space shuttle Atlantis. In the background, you can see two cotlike sleep stations mounted to the wall in this image taken on February 10, 2001.
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Not a closet; a bed

Astronaut Paul Richards next to a sleep station.

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