What would you pack for a six-month trip to the Space Station?
Tim Peake, a British astronaut with the European Space Agency, recently spent about six months living inside the International Space Station. Now that he’s back on terra firma he’s ready to share a few secrets about what it’s like living in space.
While he’s not spilling any secrets on alien encounters, he is sharing a few tidbits on what astronauts can and can’t pack for their travels to the ISS in his new book of photographs, “Hello, Is This Planet Earth? My View From the International Space Station.”
Peake told The New York Times, “One of the interesting things about what astronauts pack is what we don’t have to pack.”
Peake added that astronauts are provided with clothing and wash kits that are already aboard the ISS.
“Your clothing is chosen in advance, so they’ve got the right sizes,” he said. “Your wash kit is chosen, as well, although you can tell them if you like a certain shaving gel or toothpaste.”
Moreover, The New York Times noted, the carry-on limits are incredibly strict for the rockets that carry astronauts to space (and sadly they can’t pay extra to check a bag). Instead, astronauts are allowed just one very small bag “just bigger than a shoebox,” to fill with personal items, which is delivered to the station in advance.
According to Peake he added a few of his favorite t-shirts, a U.K. flag, an iPod Nano and two tiny pieces of fabric he simply cannot live without.
“I’ve got two small boys who, at the time I left, were 7 and 4, and they each sleep with their own little blanket. My wife, unknown to me, cut a corner of their blankets out and snuck them in the bag,” he said.
Peake said he also brought along a few photos of family and friends and a watch his wife gave him on their seventh anniversary and “some coins commemorating the mission, which I give as gifts when I return.”