Cleaning. Every Saturday morning there is no escaping it. All of us scour the whole of the ISS looking for rubbish and dirt. I vacuumed ESA’s Columbus laboratory and the Japanese JEM. I cleaned the racks and panels with disinfectant wet-wipes. I discovered all sorts of things. Liquid stains, ear plugs, pills, Christmas decorations and more. If you lose something on the ISS – and this happens a lot – the object is moved by the air that circulates in the Station. Near the air filters where the circulating air gets sucked in I often find objects that I had lost a week ago. I found a big drop of water that had escaped in my own sleeping cabin. Not an actual drop of course, as water forms perfect round spheres in micro-gravity.
Every now and again we practice emergency situations. For years I trained on Earth for these situations. To make sure we do not forget these drills, we repeat them on the Station. They are dutifully announced beforehand. Mission control does not want to frighten us, or the people following the mission from Earth, with these simulated errors. It is a very good reminder that we live in space – a risky environment. You tend to forget about risks when you spend the whole day floating around conducting a busy schedule of scientific experiments. After an emergency drill I am once again aware of the risks. In space you cannot walk outside and wait for emergency services to arrive. If something were to happen to the ISS, we need to solve the problem on our own.
Photos on Twitter
I send pictures via Twitter. I enjoy seeing that so many people are following my mission. I hope you are happy with the images I take. It is quite a challenge, especially during the night cycle of the Earth. Night-time photography is not as easy as counting to three. Luckily Don Pettit gives me some tips from time to time. He is very knowledgeable on this subject. I also try to show how it is to live on the ISS. I read as many reactions on Twitter as possible. But there are so many that I will need a few weeks to read them in peace after my flight. Thank you all!