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I get paid to be an astronaut

I get paid to be an astronaut

Karen Nyberg's job is out of this world, literally. She's been a NASA astronaut for fifteen years.

Her first trip to space was in 2008. "I remember after my first flight on the space shuttle Discovery … it was a 2 week mission, when I finished that it was more than I ever could have dreamed. It was a fantastic experience," Nyberg said in an interview with CNBC's "Power Lunch."

Nyberg returned to space in 2013; spending five and a half months aboard the International Space Station (ISS). "It's a laboratory like no other, so science can be done that just can't be done anywhere on earth," she said.


Living and working in space mimics an earthly workweek in some ways. "We work basically week days, Monday through Friday. We do house cleanings on Saturday. Every day involves exercise, because we are trying to keep our bones, and our muscles, and our hearts strong for the return to gravity," Nyberg said.

On earth, of course, you don't need a harness and bungee cords to hook yourself into a treadmill to keep you from floating away while exercising.

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The living quarters in space are surprisingly spacious according to Nyberg. "The habitable volume of the ISS is probably about a 5 bedroom house. On earth, we obviously only use the floor space, but we can float anywhere," she added.

While it's comfortable, there are certain earthly comforts Nyberg did miss during her five and a half month tenure aboard the ISS. "You know, having a normal toilet would have been nice. When you're there that part of it can get a little old after a while," she said laughing.