The Effects of Staying in Space
How Space Flight affects the Human Body?
- The first problem almost all astronauts experience, is space sickness. This is like car sickness.
- The sun rises and sets every ninety minutes in low Earth orbit, which makes it really hard for the astronauts to sleep properly due to the absence of normal day/night cycles.
- The astronauts can move around in the spacecraft just by softly pushing against its wall. The muscles do not have to work hard at all and because of this they rapidly get weakened. In a weightless environment, the human body starts excreting calcium and phosphorus, resulting in rapid bone loss.
- The weightless environment also causes the heart to weaken as it no longer needs to work as hard to pump blood around. All the body organs seem to go on a vacation in space!
- On Earth, the bulk of the fluids in the human body are stored in the lower half of the body because of the force of gravity, but in zero gravity, fluids travel to the upper body. The human brain thinks that these extra fluids are harmful and it sends a signal to the body to flush it out.
- In the absence of the compressive force of gravity, the spinal column expands, making the astronauts grow taller, usually by between one to two inches.This increased height has complications like backache and nerve problems.
- We know that the Earth’s atmosphere prevents space radiation from penetrating to the Earth’s surface and so protects us from several ailments. Since there is no protective blanket of atmosphere in space, the astronauts are exposed to harmful space radiation, which makes them vulnerable to fatal disease like skin cancer.
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