Here's How Space Travel Could Affect An Astronaut's Health
Due to a drastic change in the environment, people do not need rocket science to know that space travel could affect body processes. Following the release of the initial results from NASA's "Year in Space" Twins Study featuring Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly and his brother, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, here are some of the other effects space travel does to the human body.
Business Insider reported that a long-duration stays in microgravity could bring some changes to an astronaut's body. From sleep deprivation to risks of having cancer, space exploration -- no matter how exciting it may sound -- may cause problems to a person's health.
Since sleeping in space is not as comfortable as sleeping at home, astronauts are often sleep-deprived, getting only six hours of shuteye a night.
Lack of exercise may also cause a 12 percent loss in bone density. Traveling to space could weaken the bones since they do not get to support the person's weight in microgravity. In addition to that, lack of work for the muscles could also shrink their size and make them absorb extra tissue.
Furthermore, microgravity could also cause the spine to stretch. Astronauts would notice that they have grown 3 percent taller when they get back to Earth.
But here is the worst part: being outside the planet's protective magnetic field would expose astronauts to extreme radiation. This may increase their risk of getting cancer, which explains why they do not get to stay in space for too long.
In a Fox News report, MRI scans of 27 astronauts who went to space and back also revealed some changes in their brains.
"We found large regions of gray matter volume decreases, which could be related to redistribution of cerebrospinal fluid in space," said Rachael Seidler, a professor of kinesiology and psychology at the University of Michigan. "This may result in a shift of brain position or compression."
This fluid distribution has caused the astronauts' faces to look puffy, too. Body fluids are reportedly spread out evenly that it reaches the point of blowing up the face. In fact, the fluid from the legs that goes up to the head could even fill up a 2-liter bottle.
Lastly, Scott Kelly also reported problems in his vision after his 340-day stay in space.