Space, the final frontier. There’s something about the vast unknown of space that intrigues us. Perhaps that’s why there are so many movies and television shows about it. And it’s not limited to us as individuals – many governments invest huge sums of money into space programs. Who could forget the great space race between the United States and the Soviet Union?
Over 500 people have now spent time in space, and perhaps only they can truly understand what it’s like. There are a lot of things that we can learn from their experiences, which they are happy to share. There are a lot of crazy things that happen when you escape the Earth’s atmosphere and enter the void. We’re all curious about space travel and have imagined ourselves as astronauts at some point in time. Now, most of us are aware that weightlessness, caused by the loss of gravity, is something that astronauts experience in space.
But, guess what? That’s not the only thing. There’s a lot of other weird stuff that happens up there. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
On Earth, we have gravity pulling us down, and that’s a problem if you’re short. The gravitational pull is obviously stronger on you. However, in space, you can end up growing relatively taller. This happens because there is no gravity to pull the spine, allowing it to expand. Studies have shown that astronauts grow about 3% taller in space. But, don’t get too excited – it doesn’t stay that way for long. Most astronauts return to their original height once they’re back on Earth.
Get a headache
In zero gravity, your bodily fluids tend to move up towards your head. This has its benefits – to begin with, you tend to lose weight from the bottom half of your body. This is because all the fluid shifts up. However, after a point, the fluid accumulation in your head can lead to headaches. Fortunately, the body clears the fluid by inducing urination. So, if you pee often enough, you won’t experience such headaches. Another trick is to convince your visual system that “up” and “down” are relative, that is, you tell the body what’s up and what’s down, depending on your position.
You pass more gas
It is believed that flatulence in space is quite common. This is because burping is next to impossible, thanks to the zero gravity and weightlessness. All the gas, solid, and liquid in your tummy gets mixed, which also causes a problem. This might sound odd, but try standing on your head and burping. It’s simply not possible.
Space is full of cosmic rays, which interfere with sleep. This is especially the case during the first few weeks. Astronauts are constantly exposed to light streaks and even “fireworks,” which can ruin sleep.
Then, there’s the whole thing about experiencing sunlight every 90 minutes. If that isn’t enough, the lack of gravity can cause body parts to float. So, it’s hard to maintain a state of absolute rest.
As you can see, space isn’t exactly the place for the sleepyheads.