Astronauts Have to Vacuum and 4 Other Things We Learned From Samantha Cristoforetti

Italian astronaut sheds light on life at the International Space Station.

— -- Astronauts: They're just like the rest of us when it comes to chores.

Italian Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti is living up to her promise to stay engaged with her fans, revealing everything from chores to sleeping arrangements, ultimately showing that some aspects of life in low Earth orbit aren't so different after all.

Chore Day

Saturday is cleaning day at the International Space Station. NASA astronaut Butch Wilmore, who makes the cleaning schedule, assigned Cristoforetti to clean the crew quarters for her first week.

Cristoforetti wrote in a Google+ post that though she had the "easiest task" this week, in the future they'll rotate so she'll be able to try her hand at cleaning the dining area, bathrooms and the exercise equipment.

Vacuuming Is Key

Remember this next time you're cleaning your home: Even astronauts have to vacuum.

"All the little debris that floats in the cabin eventually gets taken by the airflow to a return grid or another," Cristoforetti wrote. "It's very important to keep the grids clean to ensure proper airflow throughout the Station."

Russian Roommates

The Russian contingent at the International Space Station sleep in a separate module from the rest of the group, who bunk together. Russia currently has two cosmonauts in space: Anton Shkaplerov and Elena Serova.


The weekends are much more private at the International Space Station.

"The on board cameras are not set to download live video on the weekend," Cristoforetti wrote.

Family Time

Another way the International Space Station parallels life on Earth: Weekends are devoted to family time.

Each astronaut gets a private family conference, which Cristoforetti said is typically reserved for the weekend.

"With the webcam, you can show your family the Space Station or even a view from the Cupola!" she wrote.