Space Travel is Affecting Astronauts in Unexpected Ways

Space Travel is Affecting Astronauts in Unexpected Ways

Space travel is affecting astronauts in unexpected way according to NASA, who reported health issues ranging from changes in eye sight to bone density loss to disorientation in returning space explorers. Although humans have been going to space for decades now, all of the effects of weightlessness, radiation, and isolation have yet to be determined, or even discovered. With a manned trip to Mars looming on NASA’s horizon, they want to make sure they have all possible complications of space travel planned for to avoid sending men and women on a journey they may survive but only limp away from.

In 2009, Dr. Michael Barratt was spending six months aboard the International Space Station. During this time, he noticed his vision seemed to be shifting towards farsightedness. Examinations between him and fellow doctor astronaut Robert Thirsk confirmed that their eyes were changing shape, and when they reported this to NASA, a high-definition camera was sent to the ISS to gather more information. The pictures showed that the backs of their eyes were being compressed and there were cloudy spots on their retinas as well as swelling of their optic nerves. A connection was drawn between the tendency for spinal fluid to collect just below the brain due to the lack of gravity pulling it down to be spread as normal. The collected fluid increases pressure on the brain, which was transferred to the eyes as a way to spare the vital organ. Returning astronauts have described the feeling as how it feels to hand upside down for too long. Along with increased brain pressure, the lack of body weight on the legs causes the muscles and bones to weaken, causing trouble upon returning to Earth and potentially crippling explorers on extended journeys. Weightlessness is not the only factor in which space travel is affecting astronauts in unexpected ways; radiation continues to be a major hurdle.

Although all exposed to radiation on a daily basis while going about daily routines, outside of the protection of Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field the energy is much more powerful and its effects are much stronger. NASA has said that it will not attempt a mission that will increase and astronauts likelihood of cancer by more than 3 percent, but several have said they weld accept up to double that amount if it means going to Mars. Since the discovery that space travel is affecting astronauts in unexpected ways, NASA plans to keep the ISS running until at least 2024 in the interest of exploring the effects of long-term space exposure on their astronauts, both physically and mentally. Strides have been made in keeping up with zero gravity induced bone loss, such as running on treadmills under the weight of elastic straps to trick the body into replacing bone mass lost while not supporting its weight, and a solution for squished eyes is only a matter of time. Controlling where the fluids in the body go has already been accomplished for fighter pilots with the use of inflatable bladders built into their flight suits, but controlling fluid in the brain will no doubt prove more difficult.

By Daniel O’Brien

Sources

NYTimes.com
IBTimes.com
TechTimes.com
ScienceRecorder.com

14 Responses to "Space Travel is Affecting Astronauts in Unexpected Ways"

  1. James B.   January 29, 2014 at 10:12 am

    Yikes! Multiple errors in the above article suggesting that Autocorrect was the only editing performed. “Eye sight” rather than eyesight, “hand” when meant to say “hang” (paragraph 2, sentence 6), “weld” when meant to say “would” (paragraph 3, sentence 2). Never been to your site before (linked here via Google News), unimpressed.

    Reply
  2. David   January 28, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    Revolving space ship creating artificial gravity…tunneling devices and expandable heavy wall coverings molding to surfaces to seal oxygen rich environment offers regulated atmosphere and protection from meteorites and surface debris. Let’s go!

    Reply
  3. David   January 28, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    Adophis Barber, you are right on, buddy. Thx

    Reply
  4. Jeff Hildebrand   January 28, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    You would think, at the speed they will be traveling at towards Mars,that some of this energy could be converted to gravity. Problems solved.

    Reply
  5. Gokan Agan   January 28, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    Any student who writes, “the energy is much more powerful” fails the PHYSICS 101 final exam. Energy is measured in Joules. Being “powerful” refers to “power”, which is measured in Watts. Apples and oranges. But certainly radiation is a huge problem for people in space.

    Reply
  6. Kirk Gregory Czuhai   January 28, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    Galatians 5

    19 People’s desires make them give in to immoral ways, filthy thoughts, and shameful deeds. 20 They worship idols, practice witchcraft, hate others, and are hard to get along with. People become jealous, angry, and selfish. They not only argue and cause trouble, but they are 21 envious. They get drunk, carry on at wild parties, and do other evil things as well. I told you before, and I am telling you again: No one who does these things will share in the blessings of God’s kingdom.

    22 God’s Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, 23 gentle, and self-controlled. There is no law against behaving in any of these ways. 24 And because we belong to Christ Jesus, we have killed our selfish feelings and desires. 25 God’s Spirit has given us life, and so we should follow the Spirit. 26 But don’t be conceited or make others jealous by claiming to be better than they are.

    Reply
    • Apophis Barber   January 28, 2014 at 8:02 pm

      Not God’s words..men’s words perpetrated by the hoax of Christianity.

      Reply
  7. Bobby Geddah   January 28, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    rewwy gud artikal

    Reply
    • Chris Hansen   January 28, 2014 at 8:45 pm

      but several have said they weld accept

      Reply
  8. rpsgt   January 28, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Pay a proofreader $1 for 1 minute of work. OMG Other than that the article was very interesting.

    Reply
  9. Jason   January 28, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    @anotherview. This planet, as all planets are, is doomed. We must venture forth or face extinction. Our large brains and their capacity for the abstract have enabled use cover the globe, and there is no reason to think we will, or should be, stuck on this rock in perpetuity.

    Reply
  10. Kim   January 28, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    Many typos, did anyone edit this article?

    Reply
  11. Ryan   January 28, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Should be “…to hang upside down for too long.” Great article, regardless

    Reply
  12. anotherview   January 28, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Ultimately, man belongs on Mother Earth not in outer space. Man becomes something less than man when he leaves his natural environment to enter a hostile one for any length of time, because of the necessity of adaption to it.. The mind of man will surely travel farther into space via his theories and instruments. The value of the adage of keeping one’s feet planted on the ground takes on new meaning.

    Reply

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