When we talk about living in space, we’re usually talking about how we can terraform a planet in order to meet our needs or we’re going deep into science fiction and trying to come up with a way to travel to places like Mars without that travel taking years. What we rarely talk about is that there are indeed people who live in space and those people have real, tangible things that happen to a person’s body and mind. While it might sound fun to spend a couple of days on the International Space Station, there are things that become quite difficult when you’re talking about spending a year or more floating around the Earth. Scott Kelly, an American Astronaut, recently returned after spending over a year in space and the data scientists have managed to gather quite a bit of data from him.
We Grow A Little In Space
Even fully grown adults will add a few inches to their height after living in space for a year. The reason is that without gravity pulling us down, our spinal discs are allowed to expand. Kelly saw his height expand by 1.5 inches. The downside is that once we enter gravity again, we almost instaneously shrink down to our normal size.
The Body Hurts When It Returns To Earth
The atmosphere in space is going to be different in space than it is on earth. Over the course of a year, your body will adapt to the new atmosphere as well as the lack of gravity. When Kelly returned to Earth he reported his skin feeling like it was burning (likely due to the new chemicals that have been pumped into the Earth’s air while he was gone) and he had a ton of aches and pains. The aches and pains are likely due directly to his body being constantly pulled down. This was a new experience after a year with very little or no gravity.