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Space and earth: how gravity affects treatment development

02 October 2020
Volume 25 · Issue 10

Imagine a trip home after 2 months away, only to realise when you arrive that you cannot sit up or stand—this was the experience of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut, Garret Reisman, who reports taking 15 minutes to be able sit up once entering Earth's gravity after space shuttle missions, and another 15 minutes to stand (Wattles, 2020). On 2 August, NASA astronauts, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, made their safe but jarring return to Earth, splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico at the end of a 19-hour journey home in SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule after 2 months in the zero gravity environment of the International Space Station (Sputnik, 2020).

Being in space not only affects the ability of humans to adjust to sitting or standing in gravity when they return, but it also affects their bone density, muscle mass and stress hormone levels, as well as their cardiovascular and respiratory systems (Tatum, 2020).

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