Weird Things That Happen to Humans in SpaceJanuary 24, 2013 - 9:00 am |
We’ve entered the era of privately
funded space missions, like the transport missions being carried out
by SpaceX—so there’s a pretty good chance the younger folks among
us will get to experience recreational trips into space (how cool
would a space hotel be?) But there are some very strange things that
happen to the human body in space. Put on your Spock ears and read on
to find out.
You Get Taller in Space
Everyone knows that some pretty funky stuff can happen in a low gravity environment, but what us non-astronaut people tend to forget is that gravity affects what's inside your body too—and that includes your freaking spine. Basically, here on earth, your spinal column is constantly being pushed down and compressed. In space, this isn't the case. Your spine isn't subject to that pressure, and it expands. You're not going to go from five-foot-nothing to basketball player heights, but you'll probably “grow” by a goo 5 centimeters or so. Interestingly, it's been speculated that old folks (after a lifetime of having their backs compressed by earth gravity—that's why they hunch over) would feel much better in space.
You Can't Burp
Sorry if we've just dashed your dreams of cracking open a beer on the space station, taking a hearty swig, and belching as you stare down at all the weak earthlings below. It's pretty much impossible to burp in space. The culprit, again, is that old jokester gravity: basically, burps are caused by the presence of gasses in your stomach (like carbonation from a beer or a soda), and without enough gravity, those gasses can't rise above the liquid (or club sandwich) in your stomach. No rising gas = no burping. The good news? You can still fart in low gravity.
You're Going To Sweat A Whole Lot
“What's that, Billy-Bob? You want to be an astronaut?” my uncle Jedidiah said to me. “Then you'd best be ready to sweat like a pig in line outside the bacon factory, son.”
Jedidiah was, despite his fourth grade education, inexplicably correct. Here's one of the less noble aspects of space travel: low gravity has such an impact on the inside of your body that heat, instead of passing through your skin and into the air like it would here, is kind of trapped in your body. So your temperature goes up, and you start sweating. And then the sweat doesn't evaporate! So, without the right equipment (like a space suit with a built in air-conditioner) you're going to be a sweaty, tall, and non-burping space resident.