Astronaut study reveals effects of space travel on human bone density

The impacts of space flight on the human body are now better understood, and measures that may be taken to alleviate them during potential challenging future trips, thanks to a study of bone loss in 17 astronauts who flew aboard the International Space Station.

The study gathered new information on the extent to which bone mineral density can be recovered on Earth and the bone loss in astronauts brought on by the microgravity of space.

It involved 16 astronauts—14 men and 3 women—with an average age of 47 who spent, on average, 5.5 months in space over missions that lasted between four and seven months.

Because bones that normally support weight on Earth do not do so in space, bone loss happens.

According to Professor Gabel, space agencies will need to develop better nutritional and activity plans to combat bone loss.

According to her, "fine bone structures thin during spaceflight, and finally some of the bone rods detach from one another."

The astronaut's overall bone structure is permanently altered once they return to Earth since the disconnected bone connections cannot be restored but the surviving ones can grow and become stronger.