We all dream about going into space at some point in our lives. Or, if we don’t dream about it, we at least think about it in one capacity or another. Hollywood has ruminated on the subject in any number of ways – some scary, some curious, and they get some things right and a bunch of things wrong along the way.
So, if you’re one of those people who can’t help but wonder, here are 10 things that happen to the human body in space that you might not expect, told by the handful of people in the world who have experienced it firsthand.
#10. Exercise is mandatory
Muscles atrophy quickly in space, so astronauts are required to exercise on a daily basis.
#9. You won’t see as well
Most astronauts who have spent extended periods of time in space deal with visual impairment intracranial pressure syndrome, though NASA has never figured out why. It’s one of the unanswered questions that continue to make a trip to Mars unfeasible at the present time.
#8. If your suit is compromised, panic fast
This is one thing that Hollywood has gotten right – if your suit were compromised and you were exposed to space, you would have 15 seconds before you lost consciousness, 30 seconds before your lungs collapsed, and less than a minute before you died from asphyxiation or decompression.
So, think fast.
#7. You’ll be slightly taller
Without gravity, your spine will stretch. Tests have confirmed that astronauts return from space a bit taller.
#6. Falling into a black hole would dissolve your body into ions
In the seconds before you dissolved into nothing, your body would “stretch,” and your sense of time and space would expand – you would potentially even be able to see both the future and past at the same time.
Pretty cool while it lasted.
#5. Your fingernails might fall off
Studies reveal that the specific design of the required gloves puts pressure on nails and causes them to fall off. NASA is working on a new design for use in future spacewalks.
#4. Floating away into space would not be an ideal death
You would float along safely for 6 hours or so, then if your crew didn’t rescue you, you would suffocate when your oxygen ran out. NASA is working on a way for an astronaut to navigate themselves back to safety, though.
#3. Your ears won’t help you acclimate to the constant motion
Anyone who has ever experienced vertigo or motion sickness can tell you how important your inner ear is to your health – it normally works to keep us from getting sick during changes in motion. But we aren’t adapted to space, so most astronauts experience motion sickness for a day or more after arriving at the space station.
#2. You’ll miss home
I know the earth can seem like a pretty shitty place sometimes, but when faced with the cold, empty, vastness of space, you’ll see things a bit differently – and you’ll always be ready to go home.
#1. It shrinks your heart
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