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What if You Were Born in Space?

by Kenny Hoeschen

This video from Vsauce explores what you might look like if you were born, not on Earth like every human to date, but in space. He begins by examining how weightlessness (not necessarily “zero gravity”) affects humans in space. The weightlessness of space raises many questions related to human biology, beginning with our ability to conceive. We don’t know if sperm would be able to “stay on target” in space. And there may also be development issues: rat babies that gestate in space have trouble with directions and cannot right themselves when thrown into water. Living in a state of weightlessness results in body fluid no longer being pushed into your legs leading to more fluid pressure in your head. We’ve seen that astronaut’s bodies respond by producing less blood. The shape of your body can change through spinal expansion, bones and muscles atrophying, and bone and muscle loss. Then there’s the issue with the high levels of radiation in space which can lead to higher rates of cancer or other adverse effects. Finally, we don’t know the long-term psychological affects of being isolated in space.

So we don’t know exactly how a child born in space would develop, but we do know that there are a host of issues and hazards that still need to be overcome.

(Thumbnail image courtesy of NewScientist.)

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