Skin-tight spacesuits to help astronauts' spines in space
Space scientists at King's College London have fashioned a skin-tight spacesuit that they hope will help prevent astronauts' spines from expanding while on missions away from Earth.
As astronauts float in space, without the force of gravity pushing down on their bodies, their spines begin to lengthen.
Some astronauts have been known to grow as much as 7cm (2.76 inches) during spaceflights.
And as their spines grow, bony spinal structures can pull on the surrounding muscles and nerves, leaving space explorers in considerable pain and putting them at risk of developing more back problems when they return to Earth.
Led by the European Space Agency, with initial designs by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, scientists at King's College London are refining the suit to ensure it is ready for testing in space.
Dr David Green discusses the different problems the suit may be able to help with.
Additional footage and photos courtesy of ESA/DLR/FU Berlin and Science Photo Library.
17 Mar 2014