What happens to bodies in space? Astronaut Tim Peake describes “unusual” flu-like changes | science

Outer space is a very dangerous place for humans – everyone knows that. But you may not know that simply leaving Earth’s atmosphere can also have profound effects on the body. The Peake team reveals the subtle changes you notice as you float through space.

Spending time outside of gravity can have some noticeable changes to your body.

Many astronauts come home and find that they are a little taller – and the longer they are gone, the taller they are.

In 2018, Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai announced that he had grown almost an inch after spending just three weeks on the International Space Station (ISS).

The absence of gravity allows the vertebrae in the spine to spread apart, increasing the height.

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“You immediately feel the weightlessness effect,” Peake told Express.co.uk.

“When the primary energy fails and you enter a state of weightlessness, you feel a shift in your body fluids.

“You feel your face is swollen, your nose is a little stuffy, you can feel your intracranial pressure rising, and you can feel it.

“It’s like you have a cold or the flu and you have a stuffy nose sensation.

“When you get out of a spaceship and are left to float naturally, you have noticed that your shoulders are much more hunched over; they love being there.

“Only gravity pulls you into the earth. So you feel your body forming a semi-fetal position, a relaxed and natural position in a weightless state. This is very unusual.”

Astronauts can also arrive on Earth much more easily than when they left.

It is common to lose muscle mass without gravity.

Fluids in the body also tend to move up because gravity doesn’t pull them down.

However, this means there is more pressure on the eye, which can lead to vision problems.

However, astronauts are less likely to notice these long-term changes, Peake said.

“Changes that occur over a few weeks — muscle and bone loss — you don’t feel,” he adds.


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