China bans bad breath in space: report
Beijing (AFP) Aug 2, 2009
Bad breath is enough to fail the test to enter China's manned space programme, state media said Sunday -- but the final green light for blast-off is given by the hopeful astronaut's wife.
China only wants to send the best of the best into orbit, meaning unfortunate personal smell is sufficient reason to get disqualified right away, the Sina.com website reported.
"Bad body odour will affect the colleagues in the narrow confines of a space shuttle," said Shi Binbin, a doctor with the 454th Air Force Hospital in the east Chinese city of Nanjing.
A runny nose is also a definite obstacle to joining China's space race for much the same reason, according to the report.
The hospital recently completed a rigorous first screening of candidates, who had to satisfy 100 requirements, to eliminate those obviously unfit to serve China in space.
But the battery of tests were only the first of three aimed at selecting China's new breed of astronauts that will pick up from the pioneers chosen in 1997.
Discarded early in the process were those with scars -- as they may burst open in the extreme conditions in space, the report said. And candidates must also show they have no family history of serious illnesses going back three generations.
But the biggest hurdle may yet lie ahead - as any prospective astronaut's wife will have the final say.
If she does not like the idea of her husband going into space, he will not be allowed to enter the programme -- no matter how he has performed up until then, the report added.
China became the third nation to put a man in space when Yang Liwei piloted the one-man Shenzhou-5 space mission in 2003.
Last September, the Shenzhou-7, piloted by three "taikonauts" or astronauts, carried out China's first space walk.
China will launch a space module next year and carry out the nation's first space docking in 2011 as a step towards its goal of building a space station, state media said earlier.
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