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6 Reasons Life in Space Sucks (That Sci-Fi Doesn't Show You)

#3. Your Nose Goes Haywire

Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

Astronaut food has always been a strange pasty halfway hybrid between real people food and meal-in-a-pill. Luckily, things have progressed enough over time that you can now get stuff like bacon bars (surprisingly unpopular) and space shrimp cocktail (mind-bogglingly popular). Of course, you won't be able to taste any of it unless you slather it in hot sauce and wasabi, because space ruins your ability to taste things.

Airandspace.si.edu
Not that bar form is an acceptable way to serve bacon anyway.

As we've mentioned before, the fluids of the human body go a little nuts when unrestrained by gravity and venture to explore strange new cavities. A lot of said cavities are in the head and the torso, puffing up the face and upper body into a weird monster not unlike Charlie Brown on steroids:

NASA
Perfect for those who've always wanted organ bloating and a physique like Earthworm Jim.

A fun side effect of this swelling is that Space You is now suffering from constant congestion and a thoroughly stuffed nose. Since the gravity isn't able to keep your boogers where they belong, you end up with a cranium full of snot, making you feel sick even when you're otherwise healthy.

Spike Mafford/Photodisc/Getty Images
And God forbid a bunch of these little bastards start floating around.

The only thing that can soothe you is the burning sensation of spicy food. This has made things like Tabasco prized commodities aboard the International Space Station -- so much, in fact, that ISS astronaut Peggy Whitson once "jokingly" threatened to bar entry from a visiting space shuttle unless they came bringing spicy gifts.

#2. Everyone Has Space Diabetes

Photos.com

One of the unadvertised perks of space life is the (completely free!) space diabetes you get to enjoy for the duration of your stay.

When your feeble human body is subjected to a microgravity environment, it starts displaying diabetes-like symptoms. Your glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity immediately go haywire, as does your body's natural insulin secretion. As insulin affects how you deal with both sugar and proteins (in amino acid form), your freshly warped hormone levels are also now top contenders in the "let's get rid of all your muscle mass" game your body likes to play in a weightless environment.

PhotoObjects.net/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images
Still a better game than weightless hacky sack.

All of this gives you a condition that, although technically not diabetes, is extremely similar -- and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. As long as you're up there, all you can do is tend to your blood sugar levels and spew inventive swear words at the people who can still eat Reese's Pieces.

Via Wikipedia
So astronauts can't eat astronaut ice cream? Fuck you, space.

The situation is not hopeless, though. There is some effort to fix the space diabetes problem, and it looks like one of the most promising future solutions to the issue is, awesomely, introducing red wine into the space diet. Although astronauts are not currently allowed alcohol due to obvious reasons, red wine contains a heart-friendly chemical called resveratrol, which could go a long way toward fixing the problem. Of course, NASA isn't too keen about letting its employees drink on the job, but since when have you listened to what those guys say? Should you ever get that rocket you're building in your backyard to fly, it's totally worth taking a few bottles of claret with you. Because whatever could go wrong?

#1. If You Get Sick, You're Screwed

Medioimages/Photodisc/Valueline/Getty Images

As one of the few lucky dogs who will get to escape our noble planet, the first step in your preparation is ... getting your ass quarantined. This is because you certainly don't want to bring any illnesses with you into the great beyond, if only because even the most harmless microbes tend to Hulk the fuck out in space.

Via Wikipedia
"VIRULENT E. COLI SMASH!"

You can't take any risks, because bacteria is a whole other animal out there, and that animal wants nothing more than to gore you to death with its tiny bacteria horns and hooves (which we assume it totally will have). Not that it will face any difficulty bending your immune system over: Your body answers to the challenges of its new environment's killer bacteria by automatically reducing your immunity to a shadow of its former earthbound glory.

Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

And if your immune system is in that "unhealthy" to "Cracked reader" range, you're really in trouble.

This is not just a "you're more likely to get sniffles" situation, either -- this shit is serious. Laboratory experiments with space-mutated salmonella show that it can infect mice (and presumably humans) a good three times more efficiently than the ordinary strands held back by gravity. And this was just on the mice with full, Earth-level immune systems -- there's no telling what would happen if Alien Salmonella took hold of someone whose body's capacity to fight foreign intruders has been ravaged by space.

Via Wikipedia
If you think "the runs" are bad, try "the floats."

Oh, you didn't want to go through the whole "quarantine" part? Congratulations! You are now sitting in the space toilet of your luxurious vessel, your weakened body torn apart by a ravenous strand of mutant salmonella. All that can save you is the magic of your array of space medicines ... which are practically useless, at least if you've stayed up there for any length of time. It turns out medication and vaccines also have a tendency to lose potency in space.

Honestly, is all of this worth it just so you can spend the rest of your life telling people at the bar, "Who do you think you're talking to, I've been to space, bro!"

Probably.

Related Reading: For more of Cracked's take on the suckitude of space travel, watch this video. Next, restore your faith in the space program by reading this article. You'll learn that astronauts can go 48 hours without taking a pee, when they really need to. Last, relax with the most bizarre things ever discovered in space. God's liquor cabinet makes extraterrestrial exploration seem like a better idea.

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