HomeAstronomyHow do viruses affect astronauts in space? Here's what we know so...

How do viruses affect astronauts in space? Here’s what we know so far.

About 15 hours into the Apollo 7 mission, Cmdr. Walter Schirra Jr. came down with a head cold, and before long, all three mission astronauts were sick. 

Mucus collected in their heads without any gravity to weigh it down, which made the astronauts extremely uncomfortable. They even refused to wear their helmets during landing. The astronauts were concerned that with their congestion, the change in pressure as they entered the Earth’s atmosphere would damage their sinuses or burst their eardrums. Ultimately, they landed safely without helmets, although ground control was not happy that the astronauts had refused to wear the gear.

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