Why ISS Astronauts Will Be Like Babies Again When They Return To Earth [Video]By Khaleb Skye A. Cruz, UniversityHerald Reporter
Three astronauts from the International Space Station (ISS) return to Earth Monday morning after a 173-day mission in space. They arrived at the ISS last October. Now, they are going home.
Shane Kimbrough, along with Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko, departed the ISS via the Soyuz capsule just before 4 a.m. Kimbrough is an astronaut from NASA while Rhyzhikov and Borisenko are Rusian cosmonauts. The journey back to Earth's surface usually takes about three and a half hours. For the Soyuz capsule, it landed 10 minutes earlier in Kazhakstan, according to ABC13.
Luckily, the crew said they feel well and would return to work after "a little bit." Astronauts who are already used to living in space often need some time to relearn how to live on Earth. To better illustrate, they go back to infancy stage as they relearn to walk, talk, eat, and everything else about being human.
For example, former ISS commander Chris Hadfield spoke of his "superhuman-like" moments if strength during his five-month mission. Hadfield said he was able to lift a refrigerator with only his fingertips or do a series of somersaults with no sweat. However, coming back to Earth presented "challenges".
Hadfield explained that his lips and tongue felt heavy that he had to change the way he talks. In space, the astronaut noted that they had weightless tongues. Thus, speech is one issue for spacemen coming back on Earth. On the other hand, bone density decreases at a rate of 1 percent per month and muscle mass shrinks when orbiting the Earth due to zero gravity.
Just like a newborn baby, astronauts are so fragile that regular checkups are needed. Some are scientific, to form assumptions about astronaut health. Though, the majority is more specific to the person's condition to ensure he or she is recovering appropriately.
On another note, per BABW News, the departure of the three astronauts on the space station means a new administration. Peggy Whitson, also from NASA, is the new commander of the team. She has been there since November. In fact, she first held the position in 2008.