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Is it true that astronauts cannot cry in space?

Date: Thu Mar 19 17:35:52 1998
Posted by Scott W. Langill
Grade level: other
School: House of Misrepresentatives
City: Washington State/Province: DC
Country: USA


I ran across the following unattributed statement in a list of "weird but true" facts... "In space, astronauts cannot cry, because there is no gravity, so the tears can't flow!" Is this true?

To make sure I answered your question correctly, I checked with Ron Parise, an actual Shuttle astronaut who works down the hall from me. He confirmed that astronauts can indeed cry in space. Tears run down your face because of gravity, but they don't need gravity to form. When the tears get big enough they simply break free of the eye and float around.

So the real question is why would an astronaut cry in space in the first place? My guess is they accidentally look at the Sun, or stub their toes on some equipment. That might be easy to do when there is no "down"!

©2008 Phil Plait. All Rights Reserved.

This page last modified Saturday, 05-Mar-2011 18:03:22 UTC


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