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Questions tagged [medical]

Questions regarding medical aspects of space exploration, like effects of missions on human body during launch, flight and reentry.

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What psychiatric and psychological tests do people need to pass to become astronauts?

I am writing a short film about an astronaut during re-entry to earth. Part of the conflict I wrote is that the astronaut could not pass the mental tests required. Could anyone tell me any tests ...
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How fast do they spin astronauts these days? Maximum routine g-training for astronauts in the 21st century?

Comments got me thinking about NASA's 20 g centrifuge. Gemini astronauts pushed to 7 or perhaps 8 g's as discussed in this answer but these days with nicely throttleable engines astronauts going to ...
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Can centrifugal force actually overcome the health problems of microgravity?

Microgravity has a negative health effect which exercises cannot completely remedy. Rotation of spacecraft and the resulting centrifugal force have been suggested as a source of pseudo-gravity. But ...
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1answer
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How soon can beginning of visual impairment due to intracranial pressure be observed?

The spaceflight-induced visual impairment was a serious problem for astronauts remaining for a long time in microgravity. In the early periods after discovery of the condition, the obvious symptoms - ...
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1answer
391 views

Can the vacuum of space be used to sterilize equipment?

Supposing that washing dishes and sterilizing medical equipment could be expensive to do in space, would a viable option be to expose dishes, scalpels, silverwear etc to the vacuum of space? Would the ...
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1answer
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Which medications do you bring to Mars?

In the Apollo missions, any conditions that wouldn't kill in a few days could be treated upon return. In current missions to the ISS, an emergency abort can have medically-threatened crew members back ...
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0answers
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Will we all be in voluntary ketosis on Mars?

The EurekAlert! NASA mission tests ketogenic diet undersea, simulating life on Mars University of South Florida researcher will be in nutritional ketosis during NEEMO 22 mission packs a lot of ...
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2answers
529 views

What happens to a body, that has been exposed to vacuum, once brought back onboard?

You are on a ship in the cold vacuum of space. You find a body of an astronaut exposed to vacuum (for this instance just assume human, but you never know). The body was essentially freeze dried and ...
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2answers
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Why do they have a Snellen eye chart on the ISS?

During a recent NASA broadcast, I noticed something in the background: It looks like a Snellen chart to me, but why would they have that on board? If that's not it, what is it then?
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What are the regulations governing (against) beards in space?

The ISS and currently used spacecraft have toxic stuff (ammonia, propellants) that makes donning gas masks a life-saver in emergency. Beards may interfere with the seal. Photo: Wikimedia Commons, ...
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Rabbits in Space

It seems that first rabbit was launched into space around 1959. There are differences in sources (Wikipedia, Korabl-Sputnik 2, does not mention rabbits) but it appears several rabbits have been ...
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Are there ICD-10 codes for space?

Today (October 1, 2015) the diagnosis codes known as ICD-10 went live in the US. I was wondering if there are any that are specific to spacecraft, space stations, or hypo- or hyper-gravity?
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How important is the size of an astronaut?

It seems to me that weight and size would be important in choosing spacefarers for many reasons; I came across this Wikipedia article where the Chinese astronauts (taikonauts) have to be between 50 ...
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3answers
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Maximum survivable atmospheric pressure

Given a similar mix of gases to those in our Earth's atmosphere, what is the upper limit of survivable atmospheric pressure for a human? Could a human survive higher pressures with a gas mix unlike ...
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1answer
442 views

What do female astronauts do on their menstrual cycle?

I know that there is medication to prevent the menstrual cycle, but what side-effects does this entail? Does regularly supressing the menstrual cycle pose any health risks to female astronauts? ...
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1answer
901 views

Would human “superpowers” in low gravity fade away through reduced muscle mass?

If suddenly put in a low gravity as on the Moon or on Mars, humans should feel very strong, easily breaking some olympic records for example. Apollo astronauts have said that they did not get tired ...
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1answer
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Why is there a pregnancy test kit on the ISS?

A comment by Organic Marble on the question Is it possible to get pregnant through natural means in space? includes a link to PREGNANCY TEST (ISS MED/3A - ALL/FIN) which seems to indicate there is a ...
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What is the impact of micro-G environment and magnetic field in LEO on blood flow and brain function?

How are sleeping and cognition in microgravity, with rapid changes in magnetic field, different from the normal human life on Earth?
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2answers
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Won't an astronaut exposed to the vacuum of space bleed from everywhere?

A woman kiss can cause the blood raise to the top levels of skin, leaving you violet mark on skin. However articles about space exposure (wikipedia, nasa.gov) do not talk about bleeding at all... So ...
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Pathogenic microorganisms and antibiotics in space

An experiment launched with the Cygnus 'craft brought my attention to another difference between Earth and space environments: human infections may become more lethal, more virulent, and less prone to ...
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1answer
2k views

How do astronauts battle loss in blood volume in microgravity?

Past manned space missions teach us that the loss in gravity gradient has an adverse effect on the blood volume of astronauts. Our bodies are simply built to expect pressure gradient and in gravity, ...
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1answer
2k views

How well would a broken bone heal in zero gravity?

We know that being in space has negative effects on bones. If you had a broken bone is space would it heal ok? Has there ever been a broken bone healed in space? Other then Spaceflight osteopenia ...
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How does increased environmental radiation affect medication potency, long and short term?

The issue of the effects of radiation on medication potency is not only important for long term stays in the ISS, but also very important for longer duration journeys and even for colonisation. One ...
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3answers
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What medicines have come from the Space Program?

There are any quantity of spin-offs from the Space Program. Developments by the erstwhile Soviet Space Program, and others are probably not well known, or easy to locate online. Yet NASA, and it's ...
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1answer
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Have any astronauts ever abused drugs in space?

I know from a few previous questions that some pretty strong drugs are available aboard different spacecraft and the ISS. Have any officials ever determined, on record, that drugs have been abused? ...
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1answer
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What procedures are there to perform emergency surgery on the space station or space shuttle?

There are many dangers involved in space exploration, as we all know, there are always chances that an astronaut would be seriously injured or fall ill. This would be especially true for continued ...
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1answer
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Have traditional forms of exercise such as Yoga been studied in orbit?

A follow-up to What is the exercise regimen under the SPRINT program? The Sprint program is briefly described as Integrated Resistance and Aerobic Training Now this may just be dogma on my part ...
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What is the exercise regimen under the SPRINT program?

NASA says (emphasis mine) Current exercise countermeasures on the International Space Station (ISS) are insufficient to prevent muscle atrophy, cardiovascular deconditioning and bone loss ...
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1answer
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How is the ISS equipped to deal with the outbreak of a contagion?

Suppose one of the astronauts was a carrier for a disease that did not show up in the medical testing prior to flying up to the ISS. How would the outbreak of this contagion be dealt with?
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Do astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) actually use their legs?

The European Space Agency writes to say ◾The applicant must have the normal range of motion and functionality in all joints. Historically, IMHO, astronauts came from a flight/test-pilot background....
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1answer
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What medicines were onboard the Apollo flights?

I'm currently reading through a book covering the early US space program - up through Apollo. In the book, it mentions that one of the crew on one of the flights was sick. He didn't tell mission ...
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1answer
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Does space flight have any positive effects on the human body?

It is well known that there are a number of negative health issues (loss of bone density, muscle mass, eyesight degeneration, etc.) that can impair astronauts who spend long periods of time in space. ...
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3answers
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Is it possible to get pregnant through natural means in space?

The Russians did some early testing with rats (Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, By Mary Roach pg 245) and natural means did not result in pregnancy. Later testing shipped ...
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5answers
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How possible are 'space jumps'?

Have you seen the first of the two new Star Trek movies? Kirk (Chris Pine), Sulu (John Cho) and a red shirt perform something really awesome in this film: They jump from space down to a planet, ...
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4answers
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Decay of a corpse in space?

This is not nice perspective, but eventually it will happen. An astronaut falls out of spaceship because of damage caused by collision with other object, or because of suit decompression. The fluids ...
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1answer
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What research has been done into using virtual reality to counteract the psychological effects of extended space travel?

One of the biggest challenges in long space flight is the psychological impact it has on the crew. I've seen a lot of research into preventing the effects, but what about "preventing" the cause ...
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2answers
901 views

What medical conditions can impede someone from going into space?

Are there any physical, mental, or health-related medical conditions that could permanently exclude someone from going into space? Do the criteria differ from one country's (government sponsored or ...
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1answer
3k views

How far could we send someone before they get a lethal dose of radiation?

Given current technology, how far could we send someone before they get a lethal dose of hard radiation? What if they don't need to make a return trip? I know that last I had heard, Mars was too far ...