What Space Does to the Body Is Even Grosser Than You Think
Being an astronaut is something only a handful of people will ever to get to experience. They get to float around in microgravity, glimpse the curvature of Earth from 250 miles up and work on some of the most cutting-edge science experiments.
But the job isn't all glamour. Being in space takes a huge toll on your body, and some of it is just downright gross.
Here are some surprisingly gross things that can happen to your body in space.
1. Dead skin cells fall off in huge chunks
All the callouses on the bottom of your feet fall off about two to three months into living on the International Space Station. That's because astronauts spend most of their time floating in a weightless environment, not walking. When astronauts pull off their clothing, they have to make sure they do it near a vent for all the dead skin cells to get sucked into; otherwise the pieces will float freely through the cabin.
The astronauts have the same problem with shaving, clipping their nails and even going to the bathroom. Everything has to be very carefully suctioned away.
2. You get a puffy face and skinny legs.
Thanks to gravity, the fluid in our body is not evenly distributed. That all changes in space. Microgravity means body fluid gets redistributed evenly, so legs appear skinnier and faces appear puffier. After a few weeks in orbit, astronauts' bodies adapt and some of the puffiness goes away.
3. Space sickness
Most astronauts experience some kind of space sickness in their first few days in space. It's like feeling hungover, combined with motion sickness and an inability to locate your limbs. The sensation happens because microgravity throws off astronauts' sense of direction.
Space shuttle astronaut Robert Parker once said, "One of the questions they asked us during our first flight was, 'Close your eyes ... now, how do you determine up?'" He couldn't. As soon as he closed his eyes, his sense of direction vanished.
Luckily, after a few days, astronauts will adapt.
"Space sickness relieves itself after about three days, although individual astronauts and cosmonauts may have a relapse at any time during their mission," said Victor Schneider, a NASA researcher.
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