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Space travel makes you ugly
A scientist reckons that long-distance space travel will leave us short, fat and bald. Space Shuttle Columbia /PA pics Astrobiologist Dr Lewis Dartness revealed at the Cheltenham Science Festival that living without gravity would cause space travellers' bones and muscles not to develop properly, leaving them stunted and weak. Meanwhile, the lack of effort needed to move around in low gravity and a temperature-controlled environment would mean that "future spacemen and women are likely to become pretty chubby." And it gets worse. "Without gravity, fluid would float up to pool in the skull, which would cause the head to look permanently swollen out of proportion", Dr Dartness added. Warming to his subject, he continued: "Also, with no need for hair to insulate the head or eyelashes to flick dust from their eyes, future humans may become completely hairless." The Kepler space telescope, which was launched earlier this year, is expected to find a number of fertile Earth-like planets dotted around the cosmos. However, while some of them may be capable of hosting complex life, the astronomical distances mean that boldly going where no man has gone before could take generations.