The effects of space travel on the body

The effects of space travel on the body

While raining the cases of volunteers willing to be the first humans to populate Mars In the future, scientists will not stop searching for methods that provide information on how this trip to our health.

And is that the experiences in microgravity have already proven to be quite damaging to astronauts; that, among other pathologies, end up suffering all kinds of muscle problems.

So, as you know, they often go into space experimental animals; so, just as they are useful in the laboratory to check the effects of drugs and other treatmentsThey also provide all kinds of information about the effects that the trip would have on the health of mammals such as humans. An example is that of a group of mice who recently returned from their space mission aboard the shuttle Atlantis, providing data on their health that were not at all hopeful. In this article, therefore, we are going to talk about these mice and many other symptoms that space travel causes on health.

The effects of microgravity appear to lead to liver damage

These mice, which returned from a journey of only 13 days at year 2011, seemed to show serious damage to their liver cells, as detailed in the study carried out by scientists from the University of Colorado, which was published last April in the magazine PLOS One.

In addition to muscular atrophy similar to that which has been reported in numerous cases of astronauts and that can be compared to that of sick that they spend long periods of time in bed, these mice showed a series of symptoms associated with what is known as non-alcoholic liver disease. This could be verified, among other reasons, by the excessive increase in the reserves of liver fat, coupled with the appearance of very low levels of an animal variant of vitamin A, known as retinol.

This has alerted scientists to how curious it is to show in such a short time a disease that normally requires very long periods of time under exposure to high fat diets.

Consequences of increased radiation levels

By leaving behind the protective effect of Earth’s atmosphere and magnetosphere, astronauts, whether animal or human, are subjected to high levels of radiation. This causes a series of serious consequences, among which the damage in the white blood cells; which, as you know, form an important part of the defenses of the immune system.

Despite attempts to create protection barrierscases of astronauts have been documented in a large number of astronauts low immunity and eye cataracts, which even in some cases, such as Valentin Lebedev, can lead to blindness.

Boiling, a controlled phenomenon

The human organism is adapted to survive Earth’s atmospheric conditions, so that the partial pressure of oxygen that can be tolerated is around the 16 kilopascals and if exposed to a lower value a state of hypoxiaand, as a consequence, the death.

On the other hand, the blood and other body fluids tend to boil if the pressure drops from the 63 kilopascals, producing a phenomenon known as boiling, which can be controlled thanks to the use of Space suits made with elastic fibers and attached to backpacks with air bottles that provide 20 kilopascals of pure oxygen. Thus, on the one hand, the hypoxia of which we spoke at the beginning is avoided and, on the other, ebullism is prevented.

Fluid redistribution

As you know, we are composed of a 60% water, which is evenly distributed throughout the lower-middle part of the body, but what happens when you enter a microgravity environment? At that time there is no longer any force to push it down, so quickly change your distribution, ascending to the Upper part of the bodywhere it hurts neck veins and produces swelling in the face and nasal congestion.

As a consequence, there is also a blood plasma loss, of approximately 22%, producing atrophy of the heart, which is found with less blood to pump.

In addition, upon returning to Earth and recovering an environment with gravity, a drop in blood pressure, known as orthostatic hypotension, which usually affects many astronauts, although they usually recover well in a short period of time.

Spatial Adaptation Syndrome

This syndrome, also known as SAS, occurs in the first moments of weightlessnesswhen the vestibular apparatus, in charge of Balance and the spatial control, tries to adapt to microgravity.

As a consequence, a series of symptoms similar to those we feel when we were young when we get dizzy in the car, although much more sudden.

The first case of this syndrome was reported in Gherman Titov, in 1961 and since then its appearance in the Four. Five% of space travel crews.

The case of the astronaut who grew up in space

One of the best known cases of this type of study is that of the astronaut. Scott Kelly, I went to International Space Station next to a russian cosmonaut during a period of 340 days.

Specifically, this case was of great interest to science because Kelly had a twin brother which served as a control to check the space effects, among which was the case that the almost total absence of gravity led the astronaut to grow five centimeters.

If more serious pathologies occurred in your case, it has not yet been reported, since the investigation is still ongoing, but what is clear is that there is still a long way to go before we can travel to mars. In the meantime, if you’re very interested, you can shoot a video like Sheldon Cooper’s.

But don’t forget to tell your partners.

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