It’s no secret that being in a place where there is no gravity at all, especially if you stay there for a longer period of time, can take a toll on the human body. There are numerous examples of astronauts who have noticed some changes upon their return to Earth. Still, does anybody know precisely what are the risks of flying into space?
This topic became one of major interest after this week, Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai claimed that he had stretched 9cm in three weeks, while he was onboard the International Space Station. Even if he later made some recalculations and said that he actually only stretched 2cm, this is a real effect that space can have on you. This happens because without gravity to pull you back, your vertebrae can expand and make you a bit taller. However, according to research, once back on Earth, the height becomes the initial one. So, this only applies while the person is in space.
Space and its effects on the human body
Usually, astronauts spend about six months at a time aboard the International Space Station. However, there are exceptions, like the American astronaut Scott Kelly who, back in 2016, spent 340 days there alongside Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko. This was actually the mission’s purpose, to shed some light on the effects that weightlessness can have on the human body. Also, to observe what toll radiation and isolation can take on someone.
Because Kelly has a twin brother, it was easy for them to be compared afterwards in order to notice the changes Scott Kelly went through. Upon a rigorous body testing after returning to Earth, it was discovered that he actually had a lot of symptoms. Among those were soreness, stiffness, muscle and bone losses, and even some swelling. He also had to adjust back to the Earth’s atmosphere and this made him a bit sick. It’s not easy being an astronaut, but this is the price they have to pay, and they do it gladly.
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