Whole Object Name
Helen Sharman's Mir Hygiene Kit
Living and Working in Space
This hygiene kit was used by the first British astronaut, Helen Sharman, during her mission to the Mir space station. It contains toothpicks, a comb, a hairbrush, a toothbrush and a nail file. The hygiene kit was designed to keep the items secure, so that they didn't float away in the microgravity environment.
Keeping clean in space is challenging as water behaves very differently to how it does on Earth. For example, astronauts have to either swallow their toothpaste or spit it into a towel, as conventional sinks with running water are out of the question.
Helen Sharman responded to an advert seeking an astronaut with, ‘no experience necessary’, whilst working as a specialist in chocolate flavouring at the Mars confectionery company. After being selected ahead of over 12,000 other candidates, she received training at the Soviet Union’s cosmonaut training facility at Star City. She launched on 18 May 1991, forever etching her name into the history of British exploration.