From difficulty sleeping to muscle weakness, people experience changes during life on the International Space Station.
1. Body height increases
It has now been discovered that most astronauts can increase their height by up to 3% during the six months they spend on the International Space Station. That means a 6-foot-tall (1.8 m) person could gain as much as 2 inches (5 cm) while in the space station.
Without gravity, the spine would have expanded, so that increased height would remain unchanged when astronauts return to Earth. Fortunately, however, astronauts return to their original altitude after a few months in Earth’s gravity.
2. Puffy faces and skinny legs
When on Earth, the fluids in the human body are unevenly distributed throughout the body due to gravity. But life in orbit changes all this. It has been reported that during the first few weeks of spaceflight, many astronauts experience swelling and gout. When gravity does not affect their body systems, fluids are distributed evenly throughout their body. However, after some time in orbit, the astronauts don’t look as bloated as the body adapts to the new way of distributing fluids.
3. Difficulty re-adapting after returning to Earth
Upon returning to Earth after a stay in the space station, many astronauts have reported difficulty adjusting to gravity. At times, forgetting that gravity acts on Earth, these astronauts drop the same items they use on Earth as they would in space. After six months of living in microgravity conditions, life has reportedly become difficult to form in a place where materials would fall if they fell.
4. Muscle Meltdown
Muscles are not needed to support the body in space weight loss. An astronaut’s muscles immediately begin to adapt to the change. Instead of maintaining normal muscle mass as humans do on Earth, astronauts’ bodies quickly get rid of unwanted tissue and start working. While this is ideal in space, it becomes problematic once on Earth. Astronauts are required to exercise two hours a day on the space station to maintain a healthy amount of muscle mass needed after returning to Earth.
5. Difficulty in sleeping
Astronauts have reported having trouble sleeping on the space station because they see flashes of light through their eyes when they try to rest. It has now been discovered that these light streams are actually caused by cosmic rays. Radiation from cosmic rays can accumulate in the body over time, but because astronauts spend a limited amount of time in the space station, these cosmic rays do not pose much of a risk.
If so, don’t forget to post your thoughts in the comment section while sharing this article.