Sleeping on the Ceiling

We always knew ceilings were good for dancing on. Now we know they're good for sleeping on, too.

The International Space Station has just seven permanent sleeping pods, each about the size of a phone booth. Four new crew members are about to arrive (pictured), and they'll join the seven already on board. Simple arithmetics says that's 11 astronauts. OK, so two astronauts can sleep in the docked SpaceX capsules. But that leaves two others without beds.


NASA spokesman Dan Huot says No Problem. "The nice thing about sleeping in space is that just about anywhere can be your bedroom." Since astronauts float in the station, pretty much any surface - floor, ceiling, wall - can be a great place to roll out a sleeping bag, Huot notes.


The situation is just temporary anyway. There will be a brief transition period between when the four astronauts who arrived last November return to Earth next week, and when SpaceX brings the next four astronauts up: two from NASA, one from Japan's Aerospace Exploration Agency and one from the European Space Agency. Crew-2 will spend the next six months in space.


The space station may be short of bedrooms, but at least a third toilet came up in a recent cargo launch. That brought the number of space commodes to three, which NASA astronaut Nicole Stott called a "blessing" for a crew of 11. Stott spent more than 100 days in orbit, in the space shuttle and the space station, so she should know.


As a reminder, Stott also spent 100 nights in space, and she has something to say about that. "Sleeping in space was absolutely the best sleep I've ever had in my entire life. I always slept on the ceiling because where else can you sleep on your ceiling? You float into that bag and you find your position, and I would not wake up until the alarm went off."


We always knew ceilings were good for dancing on. Now we know they're good for sleeping on, too.