New Space Suit Guards Against Spine Expansion

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Geo Beats
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Floating around in zero gravity takes a big toll on the human body, and scientists are trying out a new space suit that may help minimize the negative impacts of weightlessness.

Floating around in zero gravity takes a big toll on the human body, and scientists are trying out a new space suit that may help minimize the negative impacts of weightlessness.

Among the biggest problems is spine expansion.

Without the help of Earth’s gravitational pull, the vertebrae have a tendency to separate, and in some cases the spine can stretch a full 3 inches.

What results is a lot of pain, due to the increased demand on the muscles and nerves.

To help take gravity’s place when it’s not available is a new kind of space suit.

The one-piece, body-hugging garment is made of a lot of elasticized fabric – hundreds of layers of it.

Its areas of greatest compression are where the gravitational pull is strongest, like around the ankles.

The suit is still in its testing phases, and an analysis of how well it’s working is being conducted at King’s College London.

A late 2015 in-space debut is planned, at which time a Danish astronaut will wear it on his 10-day trip to the International Space Station.

Scientists are also hopeful that the wearing of the suit will cut down on the number of the health problems that occur once astronauts return to Earth.

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