As much as we hate to admit it, humans are fragile. We’re designed to live on Earth under some pretty specific conditions, and we are certainly not put together to survive outside Earth without some assistance. As a result, some funny things happen to the human body when we venture away from our home. Here’s what happens to our bodies in space:
1. They are exposed to much more radiation from the sun.
Earth does a pretty good job of keeping us safe from radiation thanks to the magnetic field working in tandem with the atmosphere. Step just outside the magnetic field, however, and the full effects of radiation exposure become real risks. Even the International Space Station, which is located within the magnetic field but very close to the edge of the zone, is exposed to ten times more radiation than we get at the surface. Radiation can increase your risk of cancer risk as well as lead to radiation sickness.
2. Motion sickness kicks in.
We maintain our sense of balance on Earth thanks to fluids in our inner ear. In space, motion sickness kicks in for a lot of astronauts because those fluids no longer have gravity’s pull to tell them when you’re upside down, right side up, and everything in between. This disorientation can lead to nausea, or what is termed “space sickness.”
3. Bone and muscle deterioration are real risks.
Our bodies work pretty hard to keep us going every day. Simply walking from your kitchen to your couch takes effort because with each step you’re fighting gravity. In space, you don’t have to work as hard, which over time can cause your muscles and bones to become weaker. This is why astronauts work out so much—not only does it help pass the time, it keeps their physical health at its peak.