If humans want to avoid going extinct like the dinosaurs, we will ultimately have to learn to live in space and to colonize other worlds. But would living on another planet truly preserve our species, or would a new environment drive us to evolve into something new? In a new episode of “One Strange Rock,” airing tonight (April 30) on the National Geographic Channel, eight astronauts explain why they think humans should colonize space — and how doing so could affect our bodies. The human body faces many obstacles during spaceflight. At the International Space Station (ISS), astronauts’ bones and muscles weaken as they work in weightlessness for months at a time. Because their bodies don’t experience gravity, bodily fluids shift upward, causing eyesight changes that are sometimes permanent. [6 Everyday Things That Happen Strangely in Space] Cosmic radiation sometimes triggers “light flashes” in the astronauts’ eyes, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield explains in the show. On long-duration deep-space missions, radiation could even damage our DNA, causing cancer and brain damage. Exposing ourselves to a toxic and potentially lethal environment in an effort to prolong the existence of our species might seem counterproductive. However, if the humans naturally adapted a way to deal… Read full this story
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