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Astronaut who spent a year in space reveals the hardest part of adjusting back to life on Earth

Astronaut who spent a year in space reveals the hardest part of adjusting back to life on Earth

Frank Rubio set a record for the longest US spaceflight.

If you thought that staying out in space for a whole year would be pretty tough, you probably haven't even thought about how hard it would be to come back to Earth.

Francisco 'Frank' Rubio is one of the most experienced astronauts out there, and in late 2023 he returned to Earth after spending a staggering 371 days in space. His mission was supposed to only last around six months, a far more typical span, but damage to his spacecraft extended the stay massively.

His Soyuz MS-22 craft did return to Earth, but it did so without its crew due to maintenance issues, and he had to wait for a later trip to get back.

DMITRY LOVETSKY / Contributor/ Getty

Rubio made it back eventually, and now he's a few months into the process of readjusting to normal life.

Speaking to PBS, he described the amount of physical training required to get back into life in gravity.

He talked about how on historical missions astronauts would face major issues with loss of bone density while they were in space, since their joints and bones weren't being stressed by normal acts like walking around.

Thankfully, according to Rubio, "The good thing is that we have a lot resistance training that we do, almost two hours of the day, and I actually lost very little bone density because of that because I was able to stay diligent".

This resistance training is pretty wild, too - it literally involves running on a treadmill that you're tethered to in low gravity, along with weights systems that similarly anchor you.

However, Rubio was candid in admitting that even four months after his return he still doesn't feel that he's back to 100% normal fitness.

Returning isn't just physical, though, and Rubio said that it had been tough missing his family while he was in space. He said that after an "adjustment period" digesting the news of his delayed return, he just had to "settle in" and get used to the idea he wasn't coming back too quickly.

Rubio also got the chance to grow vegetables in space as part of an experiment - some cherry tomatoes. Sadly he never got the chance to taste the space-grown produce, but at least now that he's back home he can eat all the fresh fruit he likes.

Featured Image Credit: Bill Ingalls/NASA / Handout