Saturday, November 25, 2017

Sleeping on the Moon

Amy Shira Teitel of Vintage space has an article, Astronauts
Didn’t Sleep So Well on the Moon
, on the discover website. The above video is a companion to that article. All of the early capsules -- from the Mercury program through Apollo -- were remarkably small and cramped. It always struck me they must have been agony to sit in for days on end, but it never crossed my mind how miserable the sleeping conditions were as well.

Below is an excerpt from her article. Be sure to follow the above link and read it all.
History’s first lunar sleep period came after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon; the original plan called for a sleep period before going outside but excitement prevailed and the EVA was moved up. Once back inside, Armstrong and Aldrin tried to make themselves as comfortable as possible without any beds. As per an early schematic of rest positions, Armstrong lay on the ascent engine cover with his legs in a makeshift sling, his boots under the DSKY, and his head on a flat shelf. Aldrin curled up in a semi-fetal position on the floor — neither could properly stretch out in the tiny spacecraft.

Exacerbating the already uncomfortable setup was their bulky spacesuits; this was NASA’s attempt to keep any dust they tracked back inside after the EVA from behind inhaled. Mission planners also hoped that the buttoned up suits would cut out some of the ambient noise, but it didn’t. All night the glycol water pump whirred. The suits got uncomfortably cold even with the cooling system disconnected. And it was uncomfortably bright. A fair bit of sunlight bled in past the windows shares, and the display lights and illuminated switches only added to the brightness. The crew eventually took off their helmets but nothing really helped. Sleeping in the LM became a battle to find what Armstrong called in the post-flight debriefing “a minimum level of sleeping conditions,” and it was a battle they lost. “The rest period was almost a complete loss,” he said.

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