What exactly happens to the body when it experiences microgravity? In weightless environments, biological systems don’t always function as expected. In order for long-term missions (such as a mission to Mars) to occur, we must work to understand the changes that the human body experiences in microgravity, and take preventive measures to ensure the safety and success of astronauts during their flights. Studying how the body responds to extended exposure to microgravity can also help us understand biological functions here on Earth.

 

NASA aimed to explore how the body responds to microgravity in a yearlong study, where astronaut Scott Kelly spent almost an entire year (340 days) aboard the international space station. His twin brother, Mark, remained here on earth. Scott Kelly returned to standard gravity on March 2nd, and immediately underwent a series of medical examinations. Although the testing will continue over the next year to fully determine how his flight affected his body, Kelly reports that his initial observations of changes include a burning sensation when his skin comes in contact with things, as well as decreased spatial reasoning when it comes to perceiving gravity’s effect on his actions. Comparisons will be made between Scott and his twin Brother to see exactly what changes he experienced during his mission. Check out the following link to see other ways that Astronauts’ bodies change while in space:

 

How Astronauts are Affected by Space Exploration

Image Credit: NASA

Image Credit: NASA

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