Astronauts gain a couple of inches in height during long-term space flight, but lose vital muscle mass, according some of the most detailed observations yet of how the body is altered by living in low gravity.

Growing taller might sound like an attractive bonus of space travel – the physical equivalent of gaining a million extra Twitter followers. In reality, changes to the spine during space flight are often accompanied by severe back pain and injuries that could blight a future long distance space mission to Mars, Nasa scientists said.

The latest study, in which six Nasa astronauts were given MRI scans before and after lengthy stints in space, suggest that back problems could be linked to the wasting of tiny muscles that surround the spine.

Read More

Related Articles