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What Happen To Your Body In Space

What-strange-things-happen-to-your-body-if-you-spend-a-year-in-space

In 2016, astronaut Scott Kelly returned to Earth after nearly a year on the International Space Station. But when he came back, he was 2 inches taller. So, what exactly happened up there, and what does that mean for the future of space travel?

If you're planning a trip to the International Space Station, be prepared to feel weightless. The station orbits the planet every 90 minutes, moving at more than 17,000 miles per hour. That's 30 times faster than a commercial jet aircraft. As a result, astronauts on board live in a constant state of free fall, or weightlessness.

Astronaut Garrett Reisman a former NASA astronaut who's logged 107 days in space said : “Being up there in microgravity is awesome. It's, like, the coolest thing, because it's like you have the power to fly.”

There are a few immediate side effects your body will have when you first experience micro gravity in space.

  1. You feel sick.
  2. You don't feel very good those first couple days.
  3. It’s like being airsick or seasick. Astronaut calls it space-adaptation sickness.
  4. Your vestibular system, your organs that provide information to the brain about your rotation and your acceleration, they're not working that great without being in gravity.
  5. Without gravity working on your body, your bones and muscles start to break down, too.
  6. You will get dehydrated and develop kidney stones because without gravity pulling them down, fluids pool in the body, tricking it into thinking it's carrying too much water. As a result, astronauts have to pee a lot.
  7.  Swelling in the upper body puts pressure on the eyes as well, which can cause vision problems.

In fact, bone density drops by over 1% per month. By comparison, the rate of bone loss for elderly men and women is around 1% to 1.5% per year. And, because it doesn't take much effort to float through space, your muscles lose strength and endurance pretty quickly.

Things to do in space for a healthy body in space.

  1. You have to work out every day. Schedule your workout two hours a day pretty much every day.
  2. If you do enough resistive exercise, you can halt the effects of the bone loss and the muscle atrophy.

With all the challenges of space travel, one benefit is you actually get taller. Your spine is being compressed by gravity. So, when you go into the microgravity environment and you no longer have any kind of compressive loads on the spine at all, it stretches and you can grow about an inch.

How does space affect the human body and problems faced by astronauts in space.

what-happen-to-your-body-in-space

  • Without gravity working against it, the heart doesn't have to work as hard to pump blood throughout the body. Over time, this could lead to the heart actually decreasing in size.
  • There is an effect on the cardiovascular system about being up in space. So you do get a reduced aerobic capability. You can be in great shape, and after being up in space for a couple days, you might get on the treadmill, and you might be like, "Man, I must not have been hitting the gym."
  • The immune system also takes a hit. Researchers discovered that a lack of gravity weakens the functions of T cells, which play a crucial role in fighting off diseases.
  • Another concern is cosmic radiation. Astronauts on the station are exposed to over 10 times the amount of radiation that we get on Earth.
  • At a couple hundred miles you sure will be above the atmosphere, but still well below the magnetic field of the Earth. You will still get a large bit of protection from that magnetic field. In fact, you could tell, because when you close your eyes, you see little lightning bolts, and that's actually a result of some of the radiation hitting your eyeballs and releasing photons.
  • Artificial shielding on the ISS only partially protects astronauts from harsh radiation, leaving them more susceptible to cancer and other diseases later in life. Finally, astronauts must also be able to handle the psychological challenges of confinement and isolation.
  • So, there is a psychological aspect to being in space, because of the fact that you're isolated from the rest of humanity, it was really strange to be looking out the window at billions of people down there that had no way to get to you. If you don't get along with somebody, that could be bad, because you don't have too many choices there in making new friends.
  • And, without a 24-hour sleep cycle, astronaut circadian rhythm is thrown off, which can cause more stress and lead to sleep disorders.
If you are in space you will be taking jet lag to a whole another level. The weird thing is that you go around the planet once every hour and a half. So every 45 minutes, the sun is either rising or setting. So you can't, like, tell what time it is by looking out the window.

So, what does all this mean for the future of space travel? Well, a trip to Mars would expose astronauts to even more dangers than those on the International Space Station. They would face higher levels of radiation, shifting gravity fields, and longer travel times, which would compound all of the negative effects of space on the human body and mind.

The biggest issue the astronaut got to deal with is the radiation. We don't know precisely what that exact radiation does to human beings. But what does gamma ray or what do heavy ions, what do they do to human tissue? We don't really know.

Right now, NASA and other research organizations are working to develop better technology that protects astronauts against these hazards, so maybe one day humans might make it to Mars.

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