Quiz: Exploring Inner and Outer Space

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Here are the highlights of questions and answers from Dr. Dave Williams’ lecture, Up or Down: The Body’s Plasticity in Exploring Inner and Outer Space, from the May 6 edition of Mini-Science .

Q: Fluid in the body shifts upwards to the face and head because of zero gravity. What is this effect commonly called?

A: Puffy Face Syndrome, or Bird Legs, because of the loss of fluid in each leg.

Q: Most astronauts have more trouble readjusting to Earth’s gravity than they do to microgravity in orbit. Why is that?

A: Their muscles and bones have weakened, making it difficult to walk. Also, the heart must recondition itself to pump blood harder to overcome the effects of gravity.

Q: At liftoff, how fast does the Space Shuttle travel? What speed does it reach in orbit?

A: Like Superman, the Space Shuttle travels faster than a speeding bullet, and it achieves that speed fairly quickly. After liftoff, the Shuttle accelerates from 0 to 25 times the speed of sound in a mere eight minutes. Its orbital speed is eight kilometers per second.

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