What is weightlessness?
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What Does weightlessness Mean
The weightlessness is the state that is reached when the gravitational forces exerted no influence . The term is also used to describe the characteristic or condition as weightless (not subject to gravity).
It is known as gravitation or gravity to the attraction of bodies according to their mass . Due to this natural phenomenon, those elements with mass attract each other: when the effects of gravity disappear, weightlessness occurs.
Weightlessness is usually associated, therefore, with the lack of attraction towards the Earth . If the effects of gravity are neutralized, the bodies float without a defined orientation.
Ultimately, when something is in free fall, it experiences weightlessness. It is important to mention that free fall is understood as the movement that a body makes when it is under the exclusive influence of a gravitational field.
Astronauts in orbit are weightless: they feel free fall constantly. This is due to the fact that the ships or special stations orbit at a certain inclination and at a constant speed that allows them to always stay at the same distance from our planet thanks to the centrifugal force being balanced by gravitation.
By putting itself in a weightless situation, the body suffers from various disorders due to the fact that it is forced to adapt the functioning of its systems . In the long term, weightlessness causes loss of muscle and bone tissue and threatens heart function. That is why astronauts must perform a special exercise routine.
It is important to note that physiological functions are not significantly altered by the state of weightlessness. Despite the various changes that the body goes through , this is not a particularly harmful situation, at least in the short term. Without a doubt, among the most radical changes is the sense of direction.
When we are touching the ground, so that we can orient ourselves naturally, the action of very small calcium deposits that are known by the name of otoliths is necessary , which are found in the humor that fills the semicircular canals of the inner ear. In a state of weightlessness, on the other hand, these do not fulfill their function and then the person suffers symptoms such as nausea, vertigo and others that are associated with common dizziness.
This does not mean that astronauts go through these and other discomforts, since they have hundreds of hours of training to adapt their bodies to the changes involved in traveling to outer space. It is important to point out that the physical and mental preparation they receive is probably the strictest in the world, since it even exceeds that of divers, which, incidentally, is included in the program.
Weightlessness can cause moderate muscle atrophy, as well as a decrease in bone matter and demineralization when it lasts for a long time. This consequence is not so evident in a superficial observation, which is why medical checks after an expedition are so important .
During the first day in a state of weightlessness, the so-called space adaptation syndrome is very common . The intensity depends on the characteristics of each organism, and it is rare that it extends beyond the first twenty-four hours. Vomiting, weakness, and dizziness are the main symptoms .
Another of the effects that weightlessness produces in our body is the movement of fluids towards the upper area, including the chest and head, which is noticed through an increase in body volume , throbbing in the throat, loss of volume in the legs and waist and obstruction of the nostrils.