Why Am I Taller?: What Happens to an Astronaut’s Body in Space

ECW. Nov. 2022. 240p. ISBN 9781770415966. pap. $17.95. SCI
Humans have been flying to and living in space for more than 50 years. Astronaut and emergency room physician Williams (Leadership Moments from NASA) and space journalist Howell provide an overview of how space affects the human body and its adaptability to extraterrestrial conditions. Drawing from decades of space medicine research and clinical studies, the authors describe the various physiological changes an astronaut experiences due to the different gravitational environments and long-term habitation in space. They explain, for example, that the spine elongates in partial gravity, and thus, the astronauts appear taller than on Earth. From the Apollo moon landing expeditions to the extended stays on the International Space Station, doctors have been able to gather a significant amount of data that will not only have helped astronauts adapt to long-duration spaceflight, but it will also be beneficial in the planning of future missions to the Moon and Mars. Likewise, studies of gravitational effects and other space medicine studies have provided insights and applications for everyday life, especially for the older population and those with mobility issues.
VERDICT Space buffs will likely find this an intriguing and informative peek into the various ways that space travel affects the human body.
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