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In for a treat at the Port Library

Children and adults were in for a treat both through education and special liquid oxygen ice cream at the Hutchinson Cosmosphere "Living in Space" presentation held at the Port Library on Tuesday.

Cosmosphere representative Caleb Gimar led the program showing how astronauts utilize their outer space through hygiene, exercise, food, sleeping and even how they use the bathroom.

Using video clips, Gimar showed how they washed their hair for the day. This made quite the show as upward motions were viewed in the no gravity situations.

In exercise, muscles work against, bones stand up to and the heart pumps blood against the force of gravity. Astronauts can loose bone density and so programs for them to exercise are put into place. Their bones can atrophy and get weak so tread mills that hold them into place through bands are utilized for their benefit. The ARED space fitness machine helps maintain their muscle strength and mass.

"So now you've washed up, exercised and now what to eat," said Gimar. "In space the need is for foods that don't create a mess, stay fresh and take up a little amount of room."

Gimar showed food from the Apollo Era in which the first astronauts landed on the moon 50 years ago, and how far they have come in the food department.

Since, space foods have improved with dehydrated or package foods including rice krispie's and milk, macaroni and cheese, shrimp, strawberries, beef ravioli, smoked turkey, pineapple, etc. that can last around 17 months. Instead of bread, tortillas are used and vacuumed packaged meals are prepared. Capri Sun type packaged drinks are also utilized. Since there is no real galley in the space station, Gimar demonstrated a special astronaut eating tray with magnetized silver ware.

"Velcro is a most useful item in space," Gimar said.

Both Coke and Pepsi manufacturers decided they wanted to be the first soda drinks in space but after an experiment, it was not meant to be.

"All gases collect on the outside part in the can," said Gimar. "The liquid is contained in the center of the can. When the astronauts tried to drink the soda, they received foam and then the liquid and no fizz. Also, the gasses sit on top of the stomach on ground but in the gravity environment that doesn't happen and so an acid reflux situation happens, causing them to loose what they drank."

"NASA never tried soda in space again," laughed Gimar.

As far as toiletry went, the first created, used a special bag for the number two business with a cleaning towel. The bags were then sealed, named with the date and time and later studied for digestive reasons. No conclusions came from the studies. A special diaper was also unitized at that time.

Now a vacuum system is used and training is necessary for the right placing of certain areas.

"The astronauts have to learn potty training all over again," Gimar laughed.

"The sunrise and sunsets every 44 minutes in space," said Gimar. "Astronauts rely on clocks in the weightless environment as they are floating around. When it comes to bedtime, the astronauts use a special sleeping bag and their hands float out in front of them.

"They look like zombies," Gimar demonstated.

After some questions were answered, Gimar began the process of making liquid oxygen ice cream with the help of Port Library Program Director Terry Peterson. Attendees were treated to samples. The nitrogen is cooled down to 320 degrees fahrenheit and it bubbles and steams because of it's boiling condensing water vapors.

The ice cream was a cool-down hit with the 45 children, and 20 adults in attendance.

Beloit Call

P.O. Box 309, Concordia, Ks. 66901

Phone: 785-738-3537