Astronauts Facts for Kids – 5 Adorable Facts About Astronauts

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Updated on: Educator Review By: Michelle Connolly

Astronauts Facts for Kids: Star sailor, Cosmonaut and Taikonaut all means the word astronaut, But what is the difference between them?!

Astronauts Facts for Kids Fact Number 1: Astronauts Get Taller in Space

Gravity causes the disks in our spine to be compressed together. When an astronaut goes to space there is close to zero-gravity, we call this microgravity.  This means that the disks in their spines become decompressed, causing them to become taller. However, this effect is only temporary, when an astronaut comes back to Earth, gravity causes them to return to their original height once again.

Not only does microgravity affect astronauts height but it also causes their hearts to change shape. An astronaut’s heart will become more spherical in shape in space and will change back to normal when they return from space.

Astronauts Facts for Kids
A photo of an astronaut is walking on the Moon

Astronauts Facts for Kids Fact Number 2: Peggy Whitson Spent The Most Cumulative Days in Space

Peggy Whitson is a record breaking astronaut. Whitson holds the record for  most cumulative days spent in space by a NASA astronaut with 665 days, 22 hours and 22 minutes in space. Peggy Whitson also held the record for the longest single space flight for a woman at 289 days up until 2019. Peggy Whitson was also the first female commander of the International Space Station (ISS).

Astronauts Facts for Kids

Astronauts Facts for Kids Fact Number 3: Astronauts Aren’t Always Known as Astronauts

The word “astronaut” comes from the Greek words “astron nautes” , which means “star sailor.” Although we know them as astronauts, this term isn’t always used. Astronauts can also be known as Cosmonauts and Taikonaut. A Cosmonaut is the name for astronauts trained by the Russian Space Agency and it means “sailor of the universe”, while a Taikonaut is a Chinese astronaut, which in China translates to “space traveller”. Astronauts are trained by either NASA, the ESA, the CSA , or by  JAXA.

The differences between these three types of astronauts is quite slim and slightly vary in differences in the selection process, their training, and the spacesuit.

Astronauts Facts for Kids LearningMole
An astronaut is flying at space showing Earth in the background

Astronauts Facts for Kids Fact Number 4: Astronauts Must Exercise in Space

The unnatural atmosphere in space means that bone loss and muscle wastage is a real risk to astronauts. In order to maintain muscle mass and bone density, astronauts must exercise for at least two hours a day. Exercising in space can be difficult due to the lack of gravity. Special equipment is used in order to allow astronauts to exercise. The three pieces of equipment they use are a bicycle, a treadmill, and a weightlifting machine called an Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED).

Astronauts Facts for Kids Fact Number 5: You Have to Learn Russian to Be on The International Space Station.

If an astronaut wants to work onboard the ISS, they must be able to speak, read, and understand the Russian language, as the ISS is split into 2 separate segments, the United States Operating Segment (USOS) and the Russian Segment (RS). All astronauts need to be able to read manuals on the Russian side and communicate with each other.

Astronauts Facts for Kids LearningMole
A man in an astronaut suit

We hope you enjoyed learning more things about astronauts as much as we loved teaching you about them. Now that you know how majestic these astronauts are, you can move on to learn about our Space like: The Universe, Asteroids and Meteors.

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