I’m an information junkie. Any time I hear a word I don’t know or the name of an obscure historical figure, I immediately write it down so I can look it up later. All these tidbits of information I gather get stored away in the “random facts” file in my brain. Fortunately I work at a library where I’m expected to know a little bit about everything at any given time, so this file comes in handy more often than I expect.

Enter one of the new books we just received, What’s It Like in Space?: Stories from Astronauts Who’ve Been There by Ariel Waldman. Featuring mini-tales of stuff only a select few humans could know, I discovered the book on the 2017 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers from YALSA (a division of the American Library Association.) Here’s a few bits of information I added to my files.

  • While in orbit, astronauts witness the Sun rising over the Earth every ninety minutes. Imagine that?!
  • Without gravity, any kind of liquid can make a big mess. To help with constant cleanup, astronauts recommend taking a towel along for the ride. “So The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was right – a towel is indeed the most massively useful thing an interstellar traveler can have.”
  • In space all of the senses are dulled, especially the sense of smell and taste, and to complicate matters most freeze-dried food is bland tasting. A simple solution is to to add extra flavor with a splash of Sriracha or other spicy sauce. This also helps with congestion because mucus floats around in the body instead of draining out the nose (yuck!)