Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bone Mass and Gravity

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Today’s Blog Post
Bone Mass and Gravity

I was glued to the TV yesterday morning with all the rest that watched Robert Thirsk return to earth after spending 6 months – or 180 days in the Space Station.

As they lifted him out of the transfer pod to the waiting vehicle one man was shaking his hand in a congratulatory way. When he let go of Thirsk’s arm it dropped. They tenderly carried his very weak body to the waiting vehicle to carry him to the next stage of his reentry to Earth’s atmosphere.

Mr. Thirsk has live without his own weight for a long time. During this 180 days his body has lost calcium steadily each day he was away. Add to that his own muscle tissue also adjusted to carrying less weight around.

The one report stated that it may take Bob Thirsk 2.5 times as long as his space travel was to get back to the level of bone mass that we was before leaving.

In other words it will be almost a year before he will be safe to do normal Earth things.

He now has the skeleton of a Post Menopausal person… close to osteoporosis and very frail. One fall will result in a broken bone. And even standing in his very weal state he might well fall as one of his leg bones or his hip – shatters.

Six months of flying high has produced a very old man.

Now with the possibilities of people perhaps manning a Space Station on the Moon… or maybe taking the longer trip to Mars… these are huge issues to overcome before we send up the Astronauts to wherever.

If not we will send up strong me and get back noodles.

I question the fact that with Mars being much bigger than our planet… would the gravitational force be that much greater… making normal walking almost impossible… and I would then be way over 400 pounds. My skeleton as it is now wouldn’t be able to handle that.

Now add to that the effect of speed… excessive speed… on the Human Body. Every turn or movement on any kind produces stress on the human body. If an airplane suddenly pulls up – your arms feel a huge weight and you can hardly lift them.

This is just fascinating how people are progressing and pushing the limits as they tackle new frontiers.

Now I pause with a silly thought…the Original Astronaut
In about 23 days from now Santa Claus will leave the North Pole at about dusk on the International Date Line over the Pacific Ocean… then keep moving west as fast as he can… covering everyone from the far north to the far south…

In less than 36 hours he will deliver just over 6 Billion Gifts to the residents of Earth. Now if you cut that back to just the children – about 2 Billion of them in 800 Million Homes…

Here is the estimation that one source offered…
The distance Santa has to travel can be estimated from the following. First, while the surface area of Earth is about 1014 square meters, only about 30 percent of that is land mass, or about 0.3 x 1014 square meters. Second, we’ll assume, for simplicity’s sake, that the 800 million homes are equally distributed on this land mass. Dividing 0.3 x 1014 by 800 million gives 4 x 104 square meters occupied by every household (about six football fields); the square root of that is the distance between households, about 200 meters. Multiply this by the 800 million households to get the distance Santa must travel on Christmas Eve to deliver all the children’s gifts: 160 million kilometers, farther than the distance from here to the sun.

Thanks to the rotation of the earth, Santa has more time than children might initially think. Standing on the International Date Line, moving from east to west and crossing different time zones, Santa has not just 10 hours to deliver his presents (from 8 p.m., when children go to bed, until 6 a.m., when they wake up), but an extra 24 hours— 34 hours in all.

It was estimated that in between stops he would have to reach nearly 186,000 miles per hour – the speed of light.

The Space Shuttle re-enters Earth’s atmosphere at 17,322 Miles per hour and its Bottom gets very hot…sometimes losing heat resistant tiles.

Can you imagine what the reindeer’s outer coating must be to escape incineration?

So what?
Well I figured that this week sometime you might use this at the Coffee Break time… around the water cooler or wherever.

Have a great day!

~ Murray Lincoln ~


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