Since Yuri Gagarin became the first documented human in space on April 12, 1961, NASA has been able to deploy a plethora of scientists to the International Space Station to conduct study into ways to improve human living conditions.
Beyond assisting us in investigating and answering basic questions about our location in space and the history of our solar system, space travel and exploration have benefited us in the fields of communication, technology and the dissemination of new innovations, among other things.
I won't waste your time with a long digression; instead, I'll get right to the point of explaining why astronauts are unable to walk immediately after arriving on Earth.
You may have observed that once astronauts return on the planet, they are placed in wheelchairs until they are able to move on their own again. Have you ever questioned why this is the case?
The risks of ionizing radiation as well as weightlessness, cardiovascular difficulties, balance abnormalities, vision problems, nasal congestion and the mother of all immune system alterations are all associated with space travel.
Although the human body experiences weightlessness in space, persons on Earth are highly adapted to the physical circumstances of their environment. It is believed that the human body begins to change as a result of the lack of gravity in space, resulting in bone and muscle mass loss. Because there is no gravitational pull in space, the muscles that were formerly required to maintain our body posture have gotten weaker and smaller as a result.
It is only when astronauts return to the Earth that they realize the consequences of not using their muscles while in space. Furthermore, according to scientific research, they are five times heavier than the average person's body weight. Consequently, individuals are confined to wheelchairs for three to four days until they are able to resume their normal operating position.
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