NASA were able to create the ‘Lower Body Negative Pressure’ process by studying giraffes, especially baby giraffes and the fact that they learn to stand almost immediately upon birth, thanks to their rapidly inflating leg veins.
Giraffes and space travel don’t seem like an obvious mix, but they have actually contributed quite a lot to our travels in space.
Weightlessness has always posed a number of problems to the human body. One of the most significant issues is the weakening of leg veins. Since the blood flows differently in space, the circulatory system of the legs doesn’t have to put in so much work in order to pump the blood back up. The veins get lazy, thin, and weak, which can pose serious problems when returning to Earth.
Giraffes have provided a solution to this problem. Baby giraffes learn how to stand almost immediately upon birth, thanks to their rapidly inflating leg veins.
When NASA observed this, they were able to create the Lower Body Negative Pressure process. It’s a device that consists of an airtight tube that seals around the astronaut below the waist and applies vacuum pressure, thus rapidly expanding the leg veins and making blood rush into the legs and pelvic area. When this pressure is applied at regular intervals, the astronaut’s leg veins stay in shape.
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