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Wed, Jan 14

5,200 days in space

When humans move to space, we are the aliens, the extraterrestrials. And so, living in space, the oddness never quite goes away. Consider something as elemental as sleep. In 2009, with the expansive International Space Station nearing completion after more than a decade of orbital construction, astronauts finally installed some staterooms on the U.S. side—four private cubicles about the size of airplane lavatories. That’s where the NASA astronauts sleep, in a space where they can close a folding door and have a few hours of privacy and quiet, a few hours away from the radio, the video cameras, the instructions from Mission Control. Each cabin is upholstered in white quilted material and equipped with a sleeping bag tethered to an inside wall. When an astronaut is ready to sleep, he climbs into the sleeping bag.

For full coverage from The Atlantic, click here.