Height and Gravity

What is connection between your height and gravity? How does our body react to various changes in the force of gravity?

Gravity presses down on our spines as if we were springs. Without gravity, our spines extend. Astronauts stretch as much as 2 inches (7 cm) taller in space. See how gravity affects your height by doing this experiment. 

Tape a piece of paper, with the bottom at eye Level, to a door over a non-carpeted floor. 

Get a ruler and pencil. Soon after you get up in the morning, stand barefoot with your back to the door. Place the ruler flat on top of your head. Using the pencil, mark where the ruler hits the paper. Step away from the door and repeat the procedure until the lines are the same height each time. (You may need help.) 

Just before going to bed, make a new mark on the paper (you might use a different color). Is this mark below the old one? Did gravity make you shorter? Check the next morning to see if you stretched again. 

Note: Young people "grow" about half of an inch (1 cm) overnight. Adults stretch also, but not as much. Real growth is shown when both night and morning heights increase over time. 



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