The dotted line indicates the reference plane, while the solid lines indicate initial and final planes of the test, comprising a thickness of 9.02 mm.
Andreas is back on Earth and his mission over, but his bones might still be feeling the pressure. Laurence Vico of the University of St Etienne, France, explains the ‘Early detection of Osteoporosis in Space’ study:
Missions in space are impossible to reproduce on Earth for long periods of time. For us this environment is a unique place to study how the human skeleton adapts to weightlessness while its evolution has been caracterised by the fight against gravity on Earth. The adaptation is especially important for humans as we have two legs and rely on gravity to get around.
By looking at astronauts in space researchers can study people who basically do not use their skeleton, the type of research that would require a test subject on Earth to be extremely inactive. Looking at astronauts in space we can determine the mechanisms of bone loss, some of which are similar to the mechanisms of osteoporosis.
Research has shown that the bones of the lower extremities are most affected by the conditions found in space. ...