June 5, 2009

Space travelers likely to be bloated, bald

Future generations of humans living in space are likely to be fat, short, ugly, bloated and bald, researchers at London's University College said.

Traveling to earth's closest stars would require years, if not decades, in space, and such long-distance travel would take its toll on the human body, Dr. Lewis Dartnell, a university astrobiologist, told The Daily Telegraph in a story published Friday.

Near zero gravity would leave bodies stunted with underdeveloped muscles and bones, while fluid pooling in the skull would bloat faces and cause hair loss, Dartnell said.

Future humans may be completely hairless, he said.

Long-distance space travelers also will have to fight weight gain because little energy is expended when moving in microgravity, he said.

Dartnell and his team are awaiting data from the Kepler space telescope, which launched earlier this year to find Earth-like planets orbiting stars.