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Space Voyage November 09, 2017

Six Bizzare Things Space Travel Does to the Human Body

Many of us fantasize about travelling to the outer space. And, scientists all across the world presume that the human race can one day leave the earth to colonise in some other world. But, that does not seem easy when we look at the experiences shared by some astronauts who spent a considerable amount of time in spacecraft. It’s not as simple as hopping a flight to your favourite destination; instead, space travel causes some weird things to the human body. Have a look at some strange things that you are sure to suffer during a space travel:

1)Space adaptation syndrome

A sudden change in gravitational force causes some serious problems together known as “space adaptation syndrome”. It is like a motion sickness coupled with nausea, headache, intense discomfort, vertigo, and vomiting. The good news is that it lasts only for a few days, and once you adapt to the new environment, you will be fine.

2)The immune system suffers

The immune system, i.e., the ability of the body to defend itself against diseases gets severely affected in space. There are a couple of reasons responsible for this such as microgravity, stress, alteration in circadian rhythm, wakefulness, etc. Also, while in space, your body will interact with microbes from yourself, other crew members, the food, etc., which may increase the risk of infection.

3) Bone and muscles become weak

In outer space, our bones and muscles do not perform many tasks as all one does is floating. This causes them to undergo continuous remodeling which leads to reduced bone mineral density and muscle atrophy (wasting away of muscles). Studies show that 3.5 percent loss of bone occurs after spending 15 to 28 weeks in a spacecraft, 97 percent of which is in weight-bearing bones such as the pelvis and legs.

4) Alteration in heart’s functionality

Many of our body parts work against the gravity. For example- the veins in our legs pump blood to the heart. But in the spacecraft under the influence of microgravity, the normal functions of our body are altered, which leads to changes in heart and blood vessels. Without gravity, there is also a redistribution of the blood i.e., more blood stays in the lower half of body, and consequently less blood returns to the heart, which leads to less blood being pumped out of it. Also, decrease in blood supply, and changes in myocardial(muscular tissue of heart) mass causes the heart to shrink. And, the pulse rate (number of heart beats per minute) becomes lower in space than on Earth.

5) Vision problems

After spending some time in a spacecraft, the vision starts to blur. The eyeballs flatten a bit, and the retinas change. This problem occurs because of increased blood pressure in the head that causes crushing of optic nerves. Although the problem usually does not persist for more than a few days on returning to the earth, few astronauts took a year or more to recover.

6) Increase in height

If you have ever dreamed of becoming a few inches taller, then the good news is that after your space excursion this will happen automatically as your vertebrae will spread apart, causing your spine to lengthen. But, once you are subject to gravity again, it only takes a few months to go back to normal height.

These were some of the most critical things that you can face during a space voyage. We hope in the coming years, there can be some more inventions in this field and space journey won’t be a traumatic experience at all.

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