Using a normal toilet and appreciating weather -- "any weather whatsoever" -- are some of the small pleasures astronaut Tim Peake has enjoyed most since returning from the International Space Station (ISS), he said today.
Using a normal toilet and appreciating weather — “any weather whatsoever” — are some of the small pleasures astronaut Tim Peake has enjoyed most since returning from the International Space Station (ISS), he said today.
The Briton has had to leave behind unparallelled views and the sensation of floating weightlessly in space.
And he faces a long, hard road of physical readjustment to gravity’s pull, rebuilding lost muscle.
But there are perks to being back home, Peake said in webcast comments at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany, on his third day back from the international orbiter.
“Using the loo, gravity is your friend. That’s one of the things we do look forward to”, he laughed.
Peake spent six months on the ISS, where relieving oneself involves the use of suction hoses to separate waste from the body.
Other things he had longed for, the 44-year-old space traveller said, were Earthly smells, fresh air, and rain.
“The rain, it’s something that you don’t feel up there… any weather down here whatsoever feels unique and it feels very special.”
Peake, the first British astronaut on the ISS, returned Saturday with Russia’s Yuri Malenchenko and NASA’s Tim Kopra.
Life in space took some getting used to, he recalled.
“It’s the first thing you do onboard the space station, you make it normal,” said Peake.
“Because if you realised where you were and what you were doing with this huge wow factor, you simply couldn’t function on a day-to-day basis.”
Towards the end of his tenure, the dreams started becoming a bit “weird”.
“You’re on Earth but you’re floating around in buildings and you’re clearly in zero gravity… it gets a bit messed up,” the astronaut recounted.
Favourite moments included witnessing the Milky Way from an unbeatable vantage point, photographing Egypt’s pyramids, and observing the spectacle of an Earthly thunderstorm from an altitude of some 400 kilometres (250 miles).
Saturday’s three-hour descent in a Russian Soyuz capsule was another highlight.