• Question: Does any part of the body grow in space, apart from the Spine. (I know about the spine in 0 gravity lengthening.)

    Asked by Barney to Tom, Jon, COLFlight, Beth, Anne on 2 Oct 2015. This question was also asked by SpaldingHighSchool9S.
    • Photo: Jonathan Scott

      Jonathan Scott answered on 2 Oct 2015:

      Body parts do not grow, but the overall shape of the body does change. In microgravity, the body’s fluids that normally accumulate in the lower half of the body (due to gravity) distribute themselves more evenly. This results in more fluid in the upper half of the body and head, and astronauts having ‘puffy’ faces – you can also measure differences in the circumference of the legs (which get smaller due to less fluid) and the chest and waist (which get bigger due to more fluid).

    • Photo: Columbus Flight Directors

      Columbus Flight Directors answered on 3 Oct 2015:

      Hi Barney! Perhaps not the answer you were expecting….

      There are, of-course, parts of the body that continue to grow in space as on Earth such as hair and nails etc. Being in Zero-g (microgravity) astronauts have to deal with this in unique ways. Watch this link to see how Astronaut Cris Cassidy deals with the prospect of having a hair cut in the absence of gravity…

      btw the vacuum cleaner he is using the same one which is used to clean the spacestation at weekends!