For humans, life in space is a fascinating and thrilling experience. But prolonged exposure to zero gravity can have profound effects on the body. From changes in bone density to muscle atrophy, the lack of gravity in space can significantly impact a person’s physical and mental health.
Today, we will explore five things that happen to your body when you’re in space for a month or more, including how your muscles and bones adapt to zero gravity, the effects on your cardiovascular system, and the challenges of maintaining a healthy diet and sleep schedule. We will also discuss the implications of these changes for long-term space travel and the future of human exploration beyond our planet.
1. Bones Become Brittle and Weak
In microgravity, your bones don’t need to bear any weight at all. As a result, they become weaker over time and can even start to break down—mostly due to calcium loss and reduced stress on the bones. According to NASA, astronauts lose up to 1-2% of their bone mass each month they are in space.
2. Muscles Begin To Atrophy
When you spend months living in a zero-G environment, your muscles don’t need to exert much force to move around. As a result, many astronauts experience muscle atrophy—especially in their legs and arms, which aren’t used as much as they would be on Earth.
3. The Cardiovascular System Changes
Without gravity pushing down on you all the time, your heart doesn’t need to work nearly as hard as it does back home. This can cause serious issues for astronauts who return from lengthy missions since their bodies aren’t used to the gravitational pull that suddenly comes along with landing back on Earth.
4. Red Blood Cells Are Affected
Studies show that red blood cells tend to decrease during long periods spent in space—they actually take on different shapes than they do while living on Earth! Some studies suggest this could lead to an increased risk of heart disease after returning back home from extended missions in space.
5. Fluid Shifts Occur In The Brain
Like everything else inside our bodies, fluids shift and change while living in zero gravity as well—but particularly within the brain itself! Scientists believe this has something to do with an increase of electrolytes outside cell walls which causes fluid shifts within the brain itself leading to cognitive changes like confusion and disorientation––something which may be permanent for those who spend too long away from home!