It was only about a week ago that three of the crew members aboard the International Space Station came back to Earth aboard the Russian space shuttle Soyuz. Their vehicle, which was the same one that had leaked a component that was finally dropped before it came back, held up well and the trio returned to Earth.
Astronaut Drew Feustel is no stranger to space and, although he is not part of the crew that came back to Earth last week, he knows everything about the difficulties faced by anyone who endure a long stay in space. In a tweet welcoming the crew, Feustel offers us a revealing glimpse into the problems that space explorers face when they return home.
"Welcome home # SoyuzMS09!", Writes Feustel in the tweet. "On October 5th, here's what I looked like, I had to close my heel eyes after 197 days on @Space_Station during the field experience … I hope the team recently Back home will feel a lot better.
The video, which was shot by Drew's wife, Indira, is almost hard to watch. Feustel, who has spent nearly 200 days in space, seems to have trouble walking. By fighting gravity to stay upright, the astronaut holds his arms along his chest and keeps his eyes closed while he focuses on maintaining his balance. Feustel returned to Earth in early October of this year after serving as an engineer on board and then as an ISS commander on shipments 55 and 56.
Not serious to restrain them, the ISS crew does a lot of flotation aboard the space station. They do their best to keep their muscles in shape by performing various exercises and training regularly, but nothing can prepare them for the eventuality of a new experience of gravity.
It's videos like this that show us everything the men and women of the astronaut body are sacrificing in the name of science, while questioning us about the future. Mars crewed missions will require explorers to experience weightlessness for more than 200 days and we simply do not know what kind of assignments this trip could have on the human body once travelers land on the Earth or the Red The planet itself.