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Astronauts wanted, but no body odour please

Does my breath smell bad in this? (credit: NASA)

By Michael Banks

Astronauts are used to undergoing rigorous training for the physical and mental challenges that travelling to space brings.

Yet Chinese astronauts hoping to be part of China’s next space crew will now have to comply with an arduous 100 item health checklist that will act to quickly whittle down the number of people capable of being a “taikonaut”.

Along with having no family history of serious illnesses, aspiring Chinese taikonauts must also not suffer from drug allergies or have any tooth cavities.

Would-be taikonauts must also not have a runny nose, body odour, bad breath or have any scars that could burst open in space.

Shi Bing Bing, an official at one of the six astronaut health screening hospitals, told Reuters that the reason for the checklist is that the bad smells from the astronauts “would affect their fellow colleagues in a narrow space”.

And, finally, if a 100 item health checklist is not demanding enough, taikonauts will get nowhere unless they have permission from their spouse.

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  1. Ender

    One more reason to use robots. Here’s a comment by Bob Park in his July 17, 2009 bulletin (
    This is the 21st century. Telerobots have been invented. Our two Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, are merely robust extensions of our fragile human bodies. They don’t break for lunch or complain about the cold nights, and they live on sunshine. They do suffer the afflictions of age. Their teeth are worn down from scraping rocks, and one has an arthritic foot that he drags behind him. But their brains are still sharp since they are the brains of their PhD handlers. No need to bring them home when they are no longer able to explore, they will just be turned off. Bolden also said he wants to go to Mars. How incredibly old-fashioned! We are on Mars now. This is the 21st century. We have discovered robotics. More than that, we have telerobots. Spirit and Opportunity are merely robust extensions of our fragile human bodies. They don’t break for lunch, or complain about the cold nights, and they live on sunshine. We have been on Mars for more than five years, looking for evidence of water and life. A human on Mars would be locked in a spacesuit with only the sense of sight. Our rovers have better eyes than any human, and we don’t have to take their word it; everyone can see what they see. How wonderfully democratic! Moreover, they have the IQ of their PhD operators back on Earth.

  2. I cannot believe this is true!


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