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B. Astronauts Readjust to Life on Earth

Narrator: This is Science Today. Now that the first crew of the International Space Station has returned to Earth, they have to readjust to gravity. According to Kenneth Baldwin, a professor of physiology and biophysics at the University of California, Irvine, this process can take several months of physical therapy.

Baldwin: One of the primary experiences that astronauts encounter when they're in space, due to the fact that they're not able to exert force on their muscle systems, is that the muscles do atrophy. And atrophy refers to a shrinkage of the muscle fiber. Protein is lost and generally, along with the loss in muscle protein, is a loss in strength.

Narrator: Baldwin chaired a review panel examining the types of training and physical therapy used and helped NASA realize there was not enough heavy resistance training.

Baldwin: As a result of our report, I think we have changed the mindset at NASA and they are more responsive to trying to introduce this type of activity into their routine training.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.