Astronaut Scott Kelly, at one point in his life, held the record for the most consecutive days spent aboard the International Space Station, an achievement that unfortunately has come with a high cost. Upon returning home to Earth, Kelly now suffers numerous health problems caused by living in space, but he expected as much when he signed up for his 340-day mission. Scientists studying the effects of outer space on the human body hope that Kelly's readjustment to Earth will help them better understand how living sans gravity impacts a person's health. Kelly, who has an identical twin brother who also happens to be an astronaut, makes for a perfect subject when examining space-related health issues. Both he and his brother, who spent six months in space, could shed light on the short and long-term health problems caused by outer space.
After spending a year back on Earth, Kelly shared his health struggles in a book entitled Endurance. While his experiences may sound like something out of a TV show about space, Kelly's medical issues are very real. Scott Kelly's health problems sound absolutely grueling, and he will face issues with his health for the rest of his life. Space already sounds scary enough, and the effects of space on Scott Kelly's body show living in zero gravity comes with zero health perks. Check out these excerpts from Endurance that won't exactly have you signing up for that first trip to Mars: .
A Disconnect With Walking
On page six of Endurance, Kelly talks about his disconnect with walking:
I start the journey to my bedroom: about 20 steps from the chair to the bed. On the third step, the floor seems to lurch under me, and I stumble into a planter. Of course, it isn't the floor – it's my vestibular system trying to read just to Earth's gravity. I'm getting used to walking again.
Legs Like "Alien Stumps" And Ankles Swollen To A Bursting Point
Kelly writes on page seven of Endurance:
I can feel the tissue in my legs swelling. I shuffle my way to the bathroom, moving my weight from one foot to the other with deliberate effort. Left. Right. Left. Right. I make it to the bathroom, flip on the light, and look down at my legs. They are swollen and alien stumps, not legs at all. 'Oh sh*t,' I say. 'Amiko, come look at this.' She kneels down and squeezes one ankle, and it squishes like a water balloon. She looks up at me with worried eyes. 'I can't even feel your ankle bones,' she says.
An Altered Sense Of Gravity
On page 79 of Endurance, Kelly talks about his skewed sense of gravity:
I’m often still disoriented about how my body is positioned. I’ll wake up convinced that I’m upside down, because in the dark and without gravity, my inner ear just takes a random guess on the position of my body in the small space.
When I turn on a light, I have a sort of visual illusion that the room is rotating rapidly as it reorients itself around me, though I know it’s actually my brain readjusting in response to new sensory input.
Pain All Over The Body
Kelly continues discussing the pain on page six:
Every part of my body hurts. All my joints and all of my muscles are protesting the crushing pressure of gravity.