Spaaaace Weeeaaaklings!

Yet another reason for you to avoid going into space — aside from the colossal expense, boredom, and high likelihood of being attacked and eaten by Radioactive Space Zombies from Beyond the Orbit of Neptune. Apparently, spending more than a few months in space makes you extremely weak.

Astronauts on a mission to Mars could lose nearly half their muscle strength during the long trip, giving them the physiques of senior citizens by the time they arrived, according to a new study.

Prolonged exposure to weightlessness could cause astronauts to lose more than 40 percent of their muscle strength even with regular exercise, researchers said. On a long voyage, a healthy 30- to 50-year-old astronaut could end up with the strength of an 80-year-old.

A 10-month trip to Mars would cause such extreme muscle deterioration that astronauts would find it difficult to perform even routine tasks, let alone move around the Martian surface in spacesuits, according to the study, which was led by Robert Fitts of Marquette University.

They say they’d need to put astronauts on a better diet and improve their ability to exercise to try to overcome the muscle loss, but it might still be a losing battle.

Yet another problem with science fiction — we’ve all spent years reading stories and watching movies about people who go into space for long periods of time, and we’d all love to think it’d be possible someday. But the fact that it would be awesome, and that it makes for great fiction just doesn’t necessarily transfer over into something that’s actually practical.

Seems like the great tragedies of our age — we learn more and more and more through science, and what we learn sometimes puts the smackdown on the dreams and fantasies we’ve held onto all our lives…

And to top it all off, the moon is shrinking. Stupid strength-sapping, increasingly-tiny universe…

1 Comment

  1. David Wyatt Said,

    August 23, 2010 @ 7:15 am

    We may be weak, but our Xray lasers throw a devastating punch, ready to tear primitive cities asunder, and make them bow to Ming the Merciless.