Just a week ago three crew members aboard the International Space Station flew back to Earth aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Their vehicle, which was the same one that caused a leak in a component that was finally discarded before re-entry, resisted very well and the trio returned to Earth very well.
Astronaut Drew Feustel is no stranger to space, and although he was not part of the crew that returned to Earth last week, he knows all about the struggles faced by anyone resisting an extended stay in space. In a welcome tweet to the crew, Feustel gives us a revealing look at what space explorers have to deal with after they return home.
"Welcome home # SoyuzMS09!" Feustel writes in the tweet. "On October 5th, that's what I looked like when I walked around with my finger on the closed heel after 197 days on @Space_Station during the Field Test experiment … I hope the newly returned crew feels much better."
The video, which was filmed by Drew's wife, Indira, is almost hard to watch. Feustel, who spent almost 200 days in space, seems to struggle with the simple act of walking. Struggling against gravity to stand, the astronaut holds his arms over his chest and keeps his eyes closed as he focuses on keeping his balance. Feustel returned to Earth in early October of this year, after performing his duties first as a flight engineer and then as ISS commander during expeditions 55 and 56.
Without gravity to hold them, the ISS crew floats a lot aboard the space station. They do the best they can to keep their muscles in shape by performing various exercises and working on a regular basis, but nothing can prepare them for the eventuality of experiencing gravity once again.
These are videos like this that show us how much the men and women of the body of astronauts sacrifice in the name of science, at the same time they make us question the future. The crewed missions on Mars will require explorers to support zero gravity for well over 200 days, and we simply do not know what kind of impact such a trip might have on the human body when travelers land, either on Earth or on the Red Planet . Planet itself.