You can cry in space, but it's not recommended

Robert Frost trains astronauts for NASA. At Quora, he answered an interesting question about what happens when astronauts cry. It's certainly happened, Frost says. But it's pretty uncomfortable. Without the aid of gravity to send tears streaming down your face, they just ball up around your eyes



  1. I’d love to see a YouTube video of that. NASA should pipe some Smiths or Joy Division to the International Space Station and film the results.

  2. A good companion piece, which you posted here a month ago:

    Astronauts can, certainly, tear up — they’re human, after all. But in zero gravity, the tears themselves can’t flow downward in the way they do on Earth. The moisture generated has nowhere to go. Tears, Feustel put it, “don’t fall off of your eye … they kind of stay there.” NASA spacewalk officer Allison Bollinger, who oversaw Feustel’s EVA, confirmed this assessment. “They actually kind of conglomerate around your eyeball,” she said. 

  3. As a result, standard NASA protocol is to have you cry with your face burried in a regulation teddy-bear.

        1. The meme is safe to use in space, but it took nasa psychologists 10 years and $5 million to develop. The Russian version of the meme was made up by a Kremel bureaucrat on a 10 minute coffee break, using a joke almanac from the corner bookstore as inspiration.

    1. Spicy food, stubbed toe, Justin Bieber’s new song? Humans cry at almost any strong stimulation.

    2. Hilarious prank involving some creative rewiring, an iPod loaded with Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ on repeat, and the RF link to mission control.

      Or, um, so I’ve heard.

    3. From TFA

      We have had astronauts/cosmonauts lose loved ones, while they were in space, and they have talked about this.

      I’d probably cry some, if I found out my mom or dad or one of my brothers died regardless of where I was.  It’s a natural and healthy thing to do.  I’d still have to work on the mission, but I’ll be damned if I’m not allowed to cry for something like that.

    4.  Seriously?  Can you not imagine what it must be like on a spacewalk, there you are, hundreds of miles above the slowly rotating earth as the ISS crosses over the South Pacific and below you stretches the pink and green glow of the Aurora Australis, reflecting off the frozen mass of Antarctica,meteors zipping by every moment or so, then you turn and gaze out across the vastness of the darkened ocean and watch golden lightning flash silently in massive cumulonimbus constructs that you know are clustered over tropical atolls……turn your head the other way and oh, look, it’s only THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE staring back at you forever….and all of that there for your eyes alone…..nah, I can’t ever imagine under what sorts of circumstances a person would find themselves tearing up in space.

  4. Is there a link that you don’t have to be logged into to read it? Everything is blurred out and it says you have to be logged in using facebook or google to view.

  5. Imagine the space-terror situation where you find a companion who’s been weeping gently for half an hour.  They open their eyes to look at you, and there’s that total bug-eyed space monster lens-eye thing going on.

    Freak out</b)

    1.  As they turn to face you, their eyes slowly open.  A vast quantity of ichorous eye fluid comes streaming out, granted momentum by the turn, heading straight for you.  “NO!” you gasp, overcome with fear and feeling the bile rise in your throat.  You turn to run and realize that the capsule door has sealed itself behind you.  There is nowhere to run.  And in space, no one can hear you scream.

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