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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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 ...
Danalog's user avatar
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50 votes
5 answers
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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, ...
s-m-e's user avatar
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49 votes
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Would all crew leave the ISS if one had a medical emergency?

If someone on the ISS had a medical emergency that required them to immediately return to earth (such as a severe stroke - something where they could not give them ideal care on the ISS and required ...
Joe's user avatar
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39 votes
2 answers
8k views

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?
SE - stop firing the good guys's user avatar
33 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
James Jenkins's user avatar
32 votes
1 answer
3k views

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?
called2voyage's user avatar
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27 votes
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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 ...
James Jenkins's user avatar
25 votes
2 answers
5k 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 ...
Krazer's user avatar
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23 votes
3 answers
20k views

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 ...
Ezra Bailey's user avatar
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23 votes
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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 degeneration1, etc.) that can impair astronauts who spend long periods of time in space....
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22 votes
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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? ...
called2voyage's user avatar
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21 votes
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Which astronauts or cosmonauts were injured by a hard landing?

Sigmund Jähn, the first German in orbit, was injured during a hard landing of the Soyuz 29 capsule on September 3rd, 1978. He got permanent damages of his vertebral column. Are there other astronauts ...
Uwe's user avatar
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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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20 votes
4 answers
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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....
Everyone's user avatar
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20 votes
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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 ...
James Jenkins's user avatar
18 votes
2 answers
7k views

Are all modern astronauts at least passable phlebotomists?

phlebotomists are (nearly always) highly skilled people who safely and relatively painlessly poke our veins with big needles, take blood samples, then ask us to "press here". The process is ...
uhoh's user avatar
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17 votes
6 answers
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Would a higher air pressure on the ISS or elsewhere make it easier to "swim" in microgravity?

What if the atmospheric pressure onboard the ISS was 5 atm, 5 times the pressure on Earth and currently on the ISS, while maintaining the breathable oxygen level, e.g. if the additional atmosphere ...
LoveForChrist's user avatar
16 votes
1 answer
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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, ...
TildalWave's user avatar
15 votes
1 answer
1k views

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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14 votes
1 answer
3k views

Do space suits measure "methane" levels or other biological gases?

A comment below Was “I have the farts, again” broadcast from the Moon to the whole world? links to this humorous video clip of the 1997 comedy movie RocketMan about astronauts on Mars. Personnel on ...
uhoh's user avatar
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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 ...
Everyone's user avatar
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14 votes
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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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14 votes
3 answers
1k views

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 ...
uhoh's user avatar
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13 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
LocalFluff's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
183 views

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 colonization. One ...
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12 votes
2 answers
4k views

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 ...
Kilisi's user avatar
  • 243
12 votes
2 answers
339 views

Is the vestibular system ever useful in spaceflight?

The Vintage Space video Eleven Deaf Men Helped NASA Leave Earth describes a number of different NASA experiments done on human subjects who had damaged vestibular systems due to childhood illness. ...
uhoh's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
2k views

Does NASA police urine production by astronauts?

Acute abdominal pain is a medical emergency which requires diagnostic facilities not available on board spacecraft. It could require emergency return from LEO or mission abort in cislunar missions. ...
Woody's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
745 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? ...
Mikasa's user avatar
  • 211
10 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is Earth's apparent magnitude from geosynchronous orbit?

How bright is a "full Earth" from geosynchronous altitude (22,200 mi) and would it be dangerous to look at a full Earth for too long from that distance without wearing a dimmed visor?
Hannes's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
330 views

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 ...
Deer Hunter's user avatar
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9 votes
3 answers
567 views

What would happen to an astronaut on the surface of Mars if a Carrington-event-like superflare hit the red planet?

If a coronal mass ejection with the intensity of the Carrington event1 or more hit Mars, what would happen to an astronaut on its surface who is too far from their base to return to in time? Assuming ...
Giovanni's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
965 views

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 ...
user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
4k views

Can there be color blind astronauts?

This answer begins with: It appears to have actually been a pole, not a cord. Handrails and handholds, colored blue for quick identification, were located throughout Skylab. ...
uhoh's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
1k 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 ...
Premier Bromanov's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
287 views

Was this Gemini "giant eye chart" ever performed?

This article from the May 14, 1965 issue of the Manned Spacecraft Center Roundup describes an "eye chart" experiment on an upcoming Gemini flight. Did this experiment end up happening in any manner? ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
2k views

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?
James Jenkins's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
818 views

How do astronauts get eye drops into their eyes?

This answer mentions that some astronauts use eye drops to relieve irritation caused by dust and lint in the air. How do they do get the drops in their eyes in microgravity? When I put drops in my ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
3k views

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, ...
Deer Hunter's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
266 views

How, specifically, are ISS audio comm loops "privatized"? For example, in private medical conferences?

The paper International Space Station Medical Operations mentions Private medical conferences (PMCs) are conducted regularly and upon crew request with the ISS crew via private audio and video ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
972 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 ...
EveryBitHelps's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
6k views

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 ...
James Jenkins's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
127 views

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 ...
Everyone's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
301 views

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 ...
Everyone's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
302 views

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 ...
Jeremy Neiman's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
469 views

What effects did the different air pressure and air composition in certain spacecraft have on astronauts?

The Mercury and Gemini spacecraft, and in space the Apollo spacecraft, didn't pressurize their cockpits to 1 atm with Earth-like atmospheric composition; instead, they used pure oxygen at much lower ...
user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
590 views

What effects would the longer days on Mars have on humans?

Afaik, humans never tried to live according to shorter or longer days so the Martian astronauts might be the first humans from Earth that have to follow a different cycle. The Martian day (Sol) is ...
user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
169 views

Are there any plans for an astronaut's two-year stay on the ISS? If no, why not?

A manned Mars mission would last about two Earth years. However no astronaut was continuously in outer space for that long, the record are Valery Polyakov's 437 days on Mir. If SpaceX wants to send ...
user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
213 views

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 - ...
SF.'s user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
806 views

Has an IV even been performed or attempted in space?

As many of you likely know, IV's are an important part of modern medicine. As more and more people go into space for longer periods, I would imagine it may become necessary for an IV to be ...
Gigaboggie's user avatar