When identical twin brothers Scott and Mark Kelly were children, their mother reportedly found it so difficult to tell them apart that she once drew a mustache on Mark’s face to be sure. But do you know that Scott Kelly gained a few inches after going into space?
Astronaut Scott Kelly returned from space two inches taller than his identical twin.
What are the Effects of Going Into Space?
However, ahead of the formal scientific results, Kelly revealed some of the unexpected effects of his space odyssey. His skin is unusually sensitive. As Kelly told the Reporters:
Any significant contact is almost like a burning sensation whenever I sit or walk. He’s managing that with special, extra cushiony shoes. He’s also experiencing more muscle soreness and joint pain than he expected. I figured the effect of a year in space would be a little bit different from shorter flights, but it’s more than a little bit different.Scott Kelly, Astronaut
Kelly is still mentally adjusting to being back in an environment where gravity pulls everything down.
The first thing I tried to throw on a table I missed, But I don’t seem to have a tendency to drop things.Scott Kelly, Astronaut
Because many astronauts become farsighted during their flights, NASA’s biological studies have focused on vision changes in space.
Vision changes were very consistent with my last flight, and that in the beginning you notice some changes but then it levels off, suggesting that 12 months in space does not have twice the effect on vision as six months do.Scott Kelly, Astronaut
However, the psychological impact was more significant. In a six-month mission, you can see the end from the start.
But when you launch in March and you think of coming back the next March it’s not something you can really comprehend. Facing nine more months on the ISS is kind of hard to get your head around.Scott Kelly, Astronaut
(Source: Stat News)
Losing the Increased Height
After two days back on Earth, astronaut Scott Kelly has lost the inch and a half of height he gained during his 340-day stay aboard the International Space Station, an American record.
Microgravity decompressed his spinal discs, but now that he’s back, he’s been squished back to normal height, his retired astronaut twin brother Mark Kelly joked to reporters at a news conference on Friday. As Scott put it, gravity shrinks you back to size.
Scientists are only now beginning to analyze the blood samples, cognitive assessments, ultrasounds, and other measurements that Kelly performed on himself during his mission and will continue to test him for months. Since his landing on Tuesday, he has already undergone muscle strength tests and MRIs to determine how the redistribution of bodily fluids in his skull and brain may have impacted his eyes and optic nerve. (Source: Stat News)