Wednesday Wisdom: Astronauts Grow Taller in Space!

January 16, 2019
Astronauts grow taller in space - Soma Technology, Inc.

Wednesday Wisdom: Astronauts Grow Taller in Space!

While in orbit, astronauts can grow up to 3% taller during their time in microgravity. If someone is 6 feet tall, they could grow as much as 2 inches! But what caused the height change? Gravity! Technically, lacks gravity. Spending extended time in a zero-gravity environment, like on the International Space Station, can cause the spine to stretch. The space between the vertebrae, which is usually pushed together by gravity, is allowed to expand without constant pressure. Keep Reading to learn more!

NASA Study

NASA has been studying the physiological changes that space and microgravity have on the body. In 2015 an astronaut named Scott Kelly was assigned a year-long mission in space. Scott Kelly has a genetically identical twin, Mark, who is also an astronaut. Mark was recruited to be a control subject and stay on Earth throughout the mission. Both brother’s physical characteristics were recorded before Scott’s mission into space. After spending almost a full year at the International Space Station, Scott returned a full 2 inches taller than before his trip.

At the time of his trip in 2015, Scott Kelly had the record for the longest time spent in space by an American with 340 days. Since then, That record was broken by Peggy Whitson who spent a total of 665 days in space. It’s through these long trips that scientists can monitor and catalog the astronaut’s health and the physical changes that space has on the human body.

While in space, many things happen to the body. Muscles atrophy, bones become more brittle, and astronauts experience balance issues, just to name a few. Upon returning to Earth, your body has to readjust to gravity. Your spine will compress again and return you to your normal height. Some astronauts will experience back problems from the lean muscle mass supporting their spine being atrophied.

Final Thoughts

Did you know that while in space you can grow up to 3% of your height? How tall would that make you? Leave a comment down below with your answer!

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