DailyDirt: Staying In Space Isn't Healthy…
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
Getting into a metal can bolted to a rocket is inherently dangerous. And even after you’ve escaped the full force of the Earth’s pull, you’re still not safe floating around in microgravity. There’s radiation and the obvious nothingness that’ll kill you in a few minutes if you’re exposed to the vacuum of space. Assuming you’re protected in a nice shielded spacecraft with plenty of food/water/air, you can spend months up there, but then you’ll have problems getting back to terra firma. Survive the landing, and you may find out that your muscles have atrophied substantially. Here are just a few more links to possible challenges with manned space explorations.
- Drosophila flies born in space have weakened immune systems, making them much more susceptible to infections. Fly eggs were raised in space, and when they returned, they couldn’t fight off a fungal infection that flies raised under normal (and hyper-) gravity could. [url]
- Space-born jellyfish have a hard time telling up from down when they return to normal gravity. Normal jellyfish can sense up/down from the motion of small calcium sulfate crystals that stimulate hair-like cells (similar to the way humans’ inner ears give us balance), but astronaut jellyfish don’t develop those cells in the same way without gravity. This could mean that baby humans born and raised in microgravity might also have some balance problems — in addition to other complications. [url]
- The Committee on Human Spaceflight has collected some papers on the effects of space on humans. These papers include various risks to astronaut health but also benefits to earth-bound humans in technology advancement and scientific discoveries. [url]
If you’d like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.
Filed Under: astronauts, drosophila, health, human spaceflight, infection, jellyfish, manned space exploration, microgravity, space
Comments on “DailyDirt: Staying In Space Isn't Healthy…”
“You may leave here for 4 days in space, but when you return it’s the same old place.”
Orbit vs. Space
So the upshot of this is that one really needs to replace gravity either with centrifugal force (the big rotating space station model beloved of 1950’s to
1970’s sci-fi) or constant acceleration to the midpoint of the journey, then constant acceleration in the opposite direction on the second half.
Re: Orbit vs. Space
I think the problem with spinning parts is the weight, complexity, cost, maneouvring difficulties etc.
Constant acceleration/deceleration may indeed become practical, with ion propulsion, VASIMR and so on. But I don?t think the current designs can give anything close to 1G.