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The inactivity of astronauts during spaceflights presents a significant risk to their muscles, says a new study in The Journal of Physiology. Scientists have simulated the impact of 21 day spaceflights on the body, and the impact of low gravity environments such as the Moon or Mars.

During spaceflights, and in future habitats on the Moon or Mars, humans are or will be exposed to a condition of "microgravity," in other words to a gravitational field much smaller compared to that present on Earth. This environmental stress has negative consequences on many organs, systems and functions of the body, including bone, muscle, plus the cardiovascular, respiratory and nervous systems. Spaceflights and reduced gravity habitats will expose astronauts also to low oxygen environments. The hypoxic stress will therefore be superimposed upon that related to reduced gravity.

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Category: Science