China Bans Bad Breath from Space

In space, no one can hear you scream... but on the space shuttle, they can certainly smell your breath. That's why China's space program is barring aspiring astronauts with halitosis — just one of 100 new rules for wannabe taikonauts.

One hundred candidates, both male and female, have reported to the No. 454 Hospital of the People's Liberation Army in in the hopes of joining the burgeoning ranks of China's astronauts. Nanjing doctor Shi Bing Bing revealed to Chinese newspapers that, in addition to passing rigorous mental and physical tests, the candidates will have to fulfill a list of 100 mandatory standards before they'll be allowed to fly. One item on the list: absolutely no bad breath, as one's breath and other body odors can negatively affect colleagues in the confines of a space craft.

Other requirements include no cavities, no scars (they "might burst and bleed when spaceships are accelerating"), no drug allergies, no ringworm, no runny noses, and no serious family illness in the last three generations. Married aspirants must get permission from their spouses before they can leave the Earth. And candidates are expected to possess a generally "pleasant and adaptable disposition."

If the requirements sound nearly impossible to fulfill, that's more or less the point. Mere mortals, it seems, simply don't qualify to fly under the Chinese banner. Shi says it himself:

"These astronauts could be regarded as super human beings."

Astronauts wanted - no bad breath [BBC]