It's bad enough to when your roommate leave nail clippings on the coffee table. It's worse when your roomie leaves them floating in space, where you're liable to breathe them in.
That's one of the more bizarre predicaments faced by astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Since nails grow in space as they do on earth, and since astronauts can't just leave a passive-agressive note and head out for work, they've devised a nail-trimming protocol.
In a whimsical video shot aboard the ISS and posted to YouTube on Jan. 11 by the Canadian Space Agency, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield explains the ingenious way astronauts cut their nails and keep their air trimming-free.
"If I just cut my fingernails here, fingernail bits are going to fly everywhere," Hadfield explains in the video. "They won't fall to the ground. You can't sweep them up. They'll float everywhere. They get in your eyes, people breathe them. Not good."
The solution? Astronauts grab the trimmer from its velcro-secured spot in the ISS bathroom, and then trim their nails next to an air duct. The duct pulls in and refreshes air aboard the ISS, so there's a slight suction that traps the nails in place. Later, when astronauts clean the duct's mesh covering, the nail clippings end up safely in the trash.
Teaching Earth-bound humans how to trim nails in space isn't astronaut Hadfield's only claim to fame.
Earlier in January, (while still aboard the ISS) Hadfield exchanged pleasantries with "Star Trek" actor William Shatner via Twitter. Hadfield is also known for playing guitar in orbit, and he has plans to record songs while floating in space.
In March, reports Space.com, Hadfield is scheduled to take over as ISS commander. He will be the first Canadian to do so.