Humanity Has Always Looked Up At The Stars And Distant

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Humanity has always looked up at the stars and distant planets, but never before have they been so close to traveling to one. Having conquered the moon, many corporations and institutions have turned their interest toward Mars, not just as a scientific treasure trove, but as a possible new home. Getting there, however, is a problem. Space is full of hazards. One such hazard is weightlessness. Humans evolved on Earth, and therefore evolved to survive in an Earth-like environment and, in particular, in Earth-like gravity. Gravity in space, however, is not Earth-like. Much like how the Native Americans had no resistance to European diseases when British colonists first came to America, humans are not well suited for surviving in a low gravity…show more content…
In microgravity, the height of astronauts increased by six to eight centimeters [4]. This lengthening of the spine contributes to back pain, which astronauts sometimes report feeling.
Microgravity also results in muscle atrophy. There are two types of skeletal, or voluntary, muscle. Slow twitch muscle provides support and stamina, while fast twitch muscles are for heavy lifting, and tire easily [4]. In microgravity, the body’s slow twitch muscles, used for supporting the body’s weight on Earth, no longer need to hold up any weight. These slow twitch muscles, located in the legs and lower back, begin to atrophy because they are not being used [2]. The body also chemically alters the composition of muscle protein to turn the slow twitch muscles into fast twitch muscles [4]. It should be noted that the muscles involved in breathing and digestion are unaffected by microgravity [4].
Because of Earth’s gravity pulling us down, the human body pushes fluid more toward the upper body than the lower. However, in space, there is no gravity to combat the flow of fluids, and so these fluids tend to build up in the head. This results in astronauts having puffy faces while also having skinnier legs [1]. This fluid shift can also lead to vision problems and congestion [3]. The accumulation of blood in the upper body causes the heart to enlarge initially. However, the heart, which is used to working against gravity, doesn’t need to work as hard in
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