Science & Technology

Five dangers astronauts face in manned spaceflight

Human journey to MarsAt first glance, it offers inexhaustible complexity. To bring a mission to the Red Planet from fiction to fact NASAThe Human Research Program in Human Studies classifies the risks that astronauts continuously encounter into five categories. Pooling issues into categories allows for systematic efforts to overcome the obstacles that precede such missions. However, these dangers are not alone. They nourish each other and can exacerbate their effects on the human body.These dangers are terrestrial analog, laboratory, and International Space Station, Acts as a testbed to evaluate human performance and countermeasures required for space exploration.

Various research platforms give NASA valuable insights into how the human body and mind react during their long-term expansion into space. The resulting data, technology, and developed methods serve as valuable knowledge for extrapolation in multi-year interplanetary missions.

Danger of cosmic radiation

1. Radiation

The initial dangers of manned Mars missions to Mars are also the most difficult to visualize. Because cosmic radiation is invisible to the human eye. Radiation is not only stealth, but is considered one of the most threatening of the five dangers.

Beyond the protection of the Earth’s nature, radiation exposure can increase the risk of cancer, damage the central nervous system, alter cognitive function, impair motor function, and promote behavioral changes.To learn what can happen in low earth orbit, NASA will use ground-based research to study how radiation affects biological samples. Lab..

Because the space station is just inside the Earth’s protective magnetic field, astronauts are exposed to 10 times more radiation than the Earth, but still at a lower dose than is stored in deep space.

To mitigate this danger, deep spacecraft have important protective shields, dosimetry, and warnings. Research is also being conducted in the field of medical measures such as pharmaceuticals to help protect against radiation.

Quarantine danger

2. Isolation and confinement

No matter how well trained, the behavioral problems of people who have been packed in tight spaces for long periods of time are inevitable. The crew will be carefully selected, trained and supported to be able to work effectively as a team for months or years in space.

On Earth, you can pick up your cell phone and quickly connect with almost everyone and others around you. On a trip to Mars, astronauts are more isolated and trapped than we can imagine. Loss of sleep, desynchronization of circadian rhythms, and overloading of work can exacerbate this problem, leading to poor performance, adverse health effects, and poor mission objectives.

To address this danger, methods have been developed to monitor behavioral health and adapt / improve various tools and technologies for use in spaceflight environments to detect and address early risk factors. increase. Studies have also been conducted on workload and performance, phototherapy for adjusting circadian rhythms, phase shift and arousal.

Distance from the danger of the earth

3. Distance from the earth

The third and perhaps most obvious danger is, very simply, distance. Mars, on average, is 140 million miles away from Earth. Rather than a three-day lunar journey, astronauts will leave our planet for about three years. The International Space Station expedition serves as a rough basis for the expected impact of such travel logistics planning, but the data are not always comparable. In the event of a medical event or emergency at the station, the crew can return home within hours. In addition, freight vehicles continuously replenish the crew with fresh food, medical equipment, and other resources. Burning an engine for Mars has no backtracking or replenishment.

Planning and self-sufficiency are key to the success of Mars’ mission. Faced with up to 20 minutes of communication delays one way and potential equipment failures and medical emergencies, astronauts must be able to confront a variety of situations without the help of a team of peers on Earth. It will not be.

Danger of gravitational field

4. Gravity (or lack of it)

Gravity fluctuations encountered by astronauts are the fourth danger of manned Mars missions. On Mars, astronauts need to live and work at three-eighths of Earth’s gravitational pull for up to two years. In addition, during a six-month trek between planets, explorers will experience complete weightlessness.

In addition to Mars and deep space, there is a third gravitational field to consider. When astronauts finally return home, they will need to re-adapt many systems of their bodies to the Earth’s gravity. Bones, muscles and the cardiovascular system have all been affected for years without standard gravity. To further complicate matters, it is usually a very intense experience when an astronaut moves from one gravitational field to another. Explosions from the surface of the planet and hurdle descents in the atmosphere are many times greater than gravity.

Research is being conducted to help astronauts stay healthy before, during, and after missions. NASA is adopting current and future FDA-approved osteoporosis treatments, and the optimal timing of such treatments, to identify ways to reduce the risk of astronauts developing early-stage osteoporosis. Increased ability to detect sensory inputs associated with adaptive training programs is being investigated to alleviate balance control problems. Research is underway to characterize the optimal exercise prescription for individual astronauts and to define the metabolic costs of key mission tasks expected to be encountered in Mars missions.

Danger of hostile closed environment

5. Hostile / closed environment

A spaceship is not only a home, but also a machine. NASA understands that the ecosystem within the vehicle plays a major role in the daily lives of astronauts. Important habitability factors include temperature, pressure, lighting, noise, and the amount of space. It is imperative that astronauts have the food, sleep and exercise they need to stay healthy and happy.

Technology, as is often the case with out-of-the-world expeditions, helps create a livable home in harsh environments. Everything from air quality to potential microbial inhabitants is monitored. Microbes that naturally inhabit your body move more easily from person to person in a closed environment. Astronauts can also provide data points through urine and blood samples to reveal valuable information about possible stressors. Residents are also required to provide feedback on their living environment, including physical impressions and sensations, so that the evolution of spacecraft can continue to meet human needs in space. Large-scale recycling of resources that we take for granted, such as oxygen, water, carbon dioxide, and even waste, is also essential.

Human experimentation indispensable for space exploration

NASA is already more than just identifying the five challenges of manned spaceflight to facilitate intensive and systematic efforts to reach Mars. Within the agency, there are entities dedicated to the evolution of spaceflight in all five areas.

NASA’s Human Research Program continues to work to maintain the health and vitality of its crew members who will land on Mars someday. While these five dangers pose significant challenges, they also offer opportunities for growth and innovation in technology, medicine, and understanding of the human body. A human challenge was sought to get one step closer to Mars.

NASA’s Human Research Program (HRP) is dedicated to discovering the best methods and technologies to support safe and productive human space travel. HRP enables space exploration by using ground research facilities, the International Space Station, and analog environments to reduce the risk to astronauts’ health and performance. This will lead to the development and delivery of exploration biomedical programs focused on: Notify human health, performance, and habitability standards. Development of countermeasures and risk mitigation solutions. Advanced habitability and medical support technology. HRP supports innovative and scientific human experimentation by providing more than 200 researchers in more than 30 states with more than 300 research grants to respected universities, hospitals and NASA centers. ..

Melanie Whiting, NASA Johnson Space Center
Raleigh Abadi, NASA Johnson Space Center
NASA Human Research Strategic Communication

Five dangers astronauts face in manned spaceflight Five dangers astronauts face in manned spaceflight

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