Uploaded on February 20, 2013
Chris Hadfield on how the body adapts to weightlessness
2013-02-20 - Canadian Space Agency Astronaut Chris Hadfield took part in today's NASA Social event, which featured a live video stream from the International Space Station to NASA headquarters in Washington, DC. Hadfield describes how the body adapts to weightlessness.
(Credits: Canadian Space Agency, NASA)
Question: So you guys went up there very fit. How does it feel as your body changes during weightlessness, and when do you think fat people will be able to go to space?
Chris Hadfield: It's - all of us have been lucky enough to fly before this long-duration flight. I think everyone would agree that the process by which our bodies adapt to weightlessness, you can feel it, and you can see how your body is changing. It's really rapid for the first week or two, almost day to day, as the fluid shifts, as your balance system changes and relates to how you see things, how coordinated you are in weightlessness. You're pretty clumsy when you get up here. But after a while, maybe sort of like a young ape swinging through the jungle, reaching out for vines, we get used to it, and you get pretty graceful in weightlessness as you adapt. But it definitely takes time.
We also lose a little weight. But mostly it's just water, because there's no fluids pooling in the lower part of our body that our body's constantly pumping up to our head. Our legs get really skinny up here because gravity's not pushing the fluids down to our legs.
And to live on a space station, you have to pass a really hard physical, just because we can't afford to get sick up here. We really want to have healthy people. But we're trying to open the doors to space to everybody. That's the whole purpose of this, is figuring out how to safely get to space and back again. And just like early in aviation, at first it wasn't for everybody, and it was only a very select few could fly. And now, of course, pretty much anybody can fly anywhere around the world. And we're just in the early stages of that. We haven't invented everything we need to invent yet. But hopefully soon everyone will be able to get this incredible experience that we're lucky enough to be part of.