Why I’ll Never Be An Astronaut*

On Wednesday afternoon, I fainted dead away in the middle of a lecture. Jet lag certainly had something to do with it, but for the most part, I honestly that it was mainly triggered by the subject of the lecture: namely, the effects that prolonged weightlessness has on the Human Body. Hint: none of them are pleasant to recount.

It’s very odd, actually; I don’t have many “triggers,” so to speak, and I’m not afraid of blood**, but there’s just something about the idea of blood lazily sloshing around the body (outside of the normal operation of the circulatory system, that is to say) which automatically makes me feel sick to my stomach. Thus, I don’t like thinking about how blood pools at the backside of a fresh corpse, and I don’t like thinking about the way that the blood (and other bodily fluids) of an astronaut, no longer constrained by gravity, are abnormally concentrated in the upper body.  Neither do I like to dwell on the extension of the spinal column or the loss of bone-density also associated with microgravity.

I’m not precisely sure why this is; it seems like such a strange issue to have that I can’t actually imagine anyone but me being affected by it.

Maybe it’s just that, for all of my intellectual acceptance of philosophical materialism, at some level I don’t like being reminded that I’m ultimately made out of lifeless matter, every bit as subject to the laws of physics as absolutely everything in the universe.


*At least until artificial gravity is invented.

**I actually think it’s very pretty


About thevenerablecorvex

I have the heart of a poet, the brain of a theoretical physicist, and the wingspan of an albatross. I am also notable for my humility.
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2 Responses to Why I’ll Never Be An Astronaut*

  1. Lindsay says:

    I’ll never be an astronaut either.

    Not just because I’m probably physically incapable of it (hello, extreme motion sickness and vertigo!) but also because of the heavy toll prolonged weightlessness takes on your body.

    (For me, the bone loss is bad, but muscular atrophy is The Worst. One of the consequences of growing up with a materialist philosophy for me was that I identify myself with my body very strongly, and I have worked very hard to build up my muscles, so losing them would be existentially disorienting. And then there’s the radiation exposure to worry about.)

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