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Hello, Hazel.

Hi, Mom! Are you in space? Almeda said that in space your head gets big and your legs get skinny.

We have constant thrust. It's a bit like gravity. It helps the body fluids stay where they're supposed to.

Aw.

If you didn't have gravity, you could make giant spit bubbles.

Sweetie, when it comes to things that can float inside a spaceship, most people don't appreciate giant spit bubbles.

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I'll call you every day. Though remember, light only travels so fast.

As I get further away, it's going to take me longer and longer to respond to you.

So If I'm bad, you're not going to know it immediately?

Oh, I'll know immediately. There's no lightspeed delay on that. Mother's intuition is the very definition of spooky action at a distance.

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I'm going to message your Dad and your sister. Love you.

Okay. Dad might be busy. He's cooking dinner.

Remind him that ordering pizza is not cooking.

Dad says a wise man knows his limitations and a truly wise man knows the numbers of take out restaurants.

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I was listening in. What's this about your head getting big?

The human body is a tower. Our biology evolved to move fluids against gravity.

Early astronauts called it the “puffy face, skinny legs” syndrome. Without any downward force, our fluids move upward and cause problems.

That's why Florence was so insistent on having constant thrust for this journey. Gravity is like oil in machinery. You want enough, but if you can't have that, some is better than none.

One gravity

Zero gravity

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Only the upper body senses blood volume. In microgravity, it thinks there's too much and a human loses ten to fifteen percent of their water weight.

Go back into a gravity area and the blood goes down to the legs. The brain gets less and it's very easy to pass out. It's what led to one of the most iconic moments in history, the first human landing on Mars.

That's one small step for a man, one giant faceplant for mankind.

Zero gravity

Adapted

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We don't know how squids will do in low gravity. So keep a log and let us know if you have any problems.

If I do have problems, do you have a plan?

Oh, absolutely.

We put you in a sack and spin you around. You get the equivalent of gravity, Florence and I get exercise that doesn't involve a treadmill.

Well, it would be the first time I got stuffed in a sack by people looking to improve my health.

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Another gray area is how well sqids can take radiation. We're going to be cautious and keep your dose as low as possible.

Why is radiation suddenly a problem?

We don't have an atmosphere shielding us, so we get more exposure.

Is everything in space trying to kill me?

Space isn't trying to kill you. It's just that if you give it the chance, it won't pass up the opportunity.

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Florence could tell you more about radiation. She likes to get into the theory of things. I'm more of a nuts and bolts type of person.

I only know the basics. There's too much knowledge for any person to know everything. I cheerfully admit to one of my many areas of ignorance.

Strangely, I trust what she's told me more now that she's said “I don't know.”

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I'll talk to Florence about radiation.

I need to keep her focused. Keep it basic. Keep it simple.

All I want is a cupful of knowledge. Getting that can be difficult when you're talking to a person with a fire hose.

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Hey. Niomi was talking about how space has radiation in it.

I know almost nothing about radiation and I should because it falls under the four basic needs of sqids.

Those needs being: Nutrition, shelter, adventure and the avoidance of things that will kill you.

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