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Hot answers tagged

54

Eyes do strange things in microgravity (when you consider they're deformable bags of fluid, this isn't too surprising). This report outlines the changes that can be identified after just a short parabolic flight. Eye test charts provide a way to investigate this without requiring heavy equipment or specialists. This study appears to be an on-going project ...


43

The Mars Society has a good indication of what the most serious medical issues have been in space flight. These include: A number of cases where the gloves leaked in an EVA. (STS-37, Mir Space Station) The STS-37 was possibly the most serious, only the fact that the astronaut was also bleeding kept this from a much more serious issue, similar to how Mark ...


39

Straight from the NASA website, there are actually just a few requirements you need to meet to become an astronaut: A Bachelor's degree in engineering, biological science, physical science, or mathematics. Three years of related work experience Ability to pass a NASA space physical, which includes: having vision 20/200 (6/60) uncorrected or better, ...


37

NASA has been studying the effects of microgravity on astronauts' eyes for at least a few years. This article from Space.com from 2012 talks about some of the findings from that time. In a new study, researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study the eyes and brains of 27 astronauts who spent an average of 108 days in space aboard NASA's ...


36

This description of the Apollo 7 mission from NASA contains a more detailed description: Mucus accumulates, fills the nasal passages and does not drain from the head. The only relief is to blow hard, which is painful to the ear drums. So the crew of Apollo 7 whirled through space suffering from stopped-up ears and noses. They took aspirin and decongestant ...


33

No, but it is being considered, in particular for long duration deep space missions like going to the Moon. ISS astronauts could return to Earth in a short enough period of time that they could receive the medical care required if needed. Also being considered is removing one's gall bladder prior to this long duration mission.


32

If Wikipedia page you link to can be trusted with dates, then she gave birth to her and Andriyan Nikolayev's daughter on 8 June 1964. Vostok 6 launched on 19 June 1963, and was in orbit a bit under 3 days. So unless she was pregnant for a bit under a year (352 days) which is impossible even for prodigious pregnancy considering early-term exposure of the ...


31

The shuttle (and ISS) EMU (Extravehicular Mobility Unit) has a condensing heat exchanger as part of its ventilation loop. The condensate is stored, used for cooling, and the excess is drained after each EVA (Extravehicular Activity). Reference: Shuttle Crew Operations Manual: https://www.nasa.gov/centers/johnson/pdf/...


27

They tended to suffer painful fingernails in the Apollo days, in the Lunar Surface Journal Schmitt and Cernan gave a good description of this on several pages. There were also references made in the various technical debrief documents. The problem tended to arise from the fact that the gloves are pressurised, therefore stiff. The journal also links to a ...


25

14G sounds like a lot. To put it in context: the acceleration you can endure depends on the force vector. The position in which we can withstand G-forces best is forward (using the directions from the XKCD diagram), so spacecraft seats are placed to take advantage of this. When the rocket sits on the pad, the astronauts lie on their back. fighter pilots ...


22

The crew of Apollo 7 were all ill. The commander, Wally Schirra, developed a cold and the other two crew members suffered prolonged motion sickness. Due to the illnesses, the crew failed to perform their duties (such as perform the live television broadcast) and all were retired from spaceflight. Even today, it is not publicly known if they performed the ...


20

In space (within the Solar system), you will get mostly two types of "radiation" that have health consequences: Photons of various energy, from long wave radio to gamma rays. High-energy charged particles, mostly electrons and protons ejected from the Sun upper atmosphere (this is known as the solar wind). Main source for these is, of course, the Sun. ...


18

It seems as though Valentina became pregnant shortly after her flight, as @TildalWave. She was worried about how her pregnancy might have been affected by her recent space flight, and it was that fact that is the truth behind this error. There are some documented reports of Valentina being particularly concerned with respect to her pregnancy. Both her and ...


18

The US's only "modern, real" space suit, the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU), was designed in the 1970s. It has a very limited sensor suite and no automation at all. The only sensors used in the suit are A biomedical harness (with electrocardiograph electrodes) A carbon dioxide (CO2) partial pressure sensor A total pressure sensor ventilation flow ...


17

Don't ever take what's portrayed in a scifi movie as fact. You can use the fingers on one hand to count the number of scifi movies that go out of their way to be faithful to science. "Mission to Mars was not one of them. (Nor was Total Recall.) Will you die if you take your helmet off in space? Of course. Your brain needs oxygen, as does the rest of your ...


17

As other answers have already explained, the basic height requirement is 4 feet, 10.5 inches to 6 feet, 4 inches. However, just meeting that (and the other basic specifications) isn't going to get you far. I actually applied for the NASA candidate program several years back (2012 or so?), shortly after I'd met all of the listed requirements (they have to ...


16

Chances: Murphy's law - bad things eventually happen. Reasons: Besides (micro-)meteorites, as mentioned by @TildalWave, the risk is with the astronauts themselves. EVAs are for repairing stuff, 'plumbing', handling tools and equipment etc. It is natural to break stuff while you work. In terms of numbers, although there were plenty of EVAs in history, ...


16

While I'm not sure it would qualify as a physical, bleeding injury, there was a near-death from drowning in space. Luca Parmitano, was an Italian NASA astronaut who nearly drowned during an EVA in July, 2013. It was so unexpected that NASA hadn't even planned emergency procedures for an incident like this. After all, what are the chances of drowning in ...


15

Ultraviolet radiation does not get through the aluminum hull of the space station, so no such protection is needed for the crew inside. The glass of EVA suits is made not to let UV light through, either (http://history.nasa.gov/spacesuits.pdf). The same is true for the glass of the ISS' windows. So a random member of the ISS crew receives about as much UV ...


14

According to ABC News, yes: But now, as American astronauts spend more and more time in space, they've noticed they're returning to Earth with a surprising malady: They cannot focus their eyes properly after they come home, and for some the problem seems permanent. ... A fifth of the astronauts tested showed a flattening of the rear of the ...


13

There have been no known long-term positive health effects reported. Then again, euphoria and elation are considered negative health effects, and both have been reported, and many other causes are used as recreational stress relief. Almost all astronauts report positive mental attitude changes from their time in orbit. This isn't exactly measurable, tho', ...


13

To fully counteract the reduced gravity, the extra weight would need to be distributed evenly across every cell in your entire body. Why? The idea of weighted clothing would certainly help with muscles like those in your legs, which serve to support you. Other areas of your body, however, wouldn't be helped. Take, for example, your vital organs. Your ...


13

Some crewmembers have been incapacitated by Space Adaptation Syndrome (SAS) as they adapt to the free fall environment. The most publicized case of this was "Payload Specialist" Jake Garn who was so sick on his space junket that his name became the standard unit of spacesickness, where 1 garn = completely incapacitated. Less severe cases have caused mission ...


13

As in all things ISS, the crew would turn to the appropriate checklist. In this case, the Medical Checklist. Its table of contents contains these dentistry-related items: Here's the first page of TOOTH EXTRACTION to give you an idea:


12

Space motion sickness: incidence, etiology, and countermeasures (Martina Heer, William Paloski. Autonomic Neuroscience Vol.129, no.1-2, 2006. Pp. 77-79): Space motion sickness is experienced by 60% to 80% of space travelers during their first 2 to 3 days in microgravity and by a similar proportion during their first few days after return to Earth. Since $...


12

On the International Space Station, crewmembers regularly exercise to help maintain their muscle/bone mass. A number of scientific studies have been done (here's one) on the effectiveness of their exercise regimen, and it appears that even with their rather modest amount of exercise (5 hr/wk), the decrease in muscle mass is slight and more of a muscle ...


12

This is a very important subject. Recommended reading: Nick Kanas, Dietrich Manzey. Space Psychology and Psychiatry. Springer, 2008. To quote (pp.193-194): From the very beginning of long-duration space flight, the provision of psychological in-flight support to crewmembers has been an important counter- measure in Russia [Grigoriev et al., 1987; ...


12

Qualification to become an astronaut isn't determined by ability to fit in a space suit, or at least it is unlikely to be a consideration for you. What matters is absence of any issues that would impair your ability to perform the tasks you are there to perform (and not become a liability to your crewmates), and, very importantly, the skills, knowledge, and ...


12

It's one of several factors to prevent Earth microorganisms from contaminating the moon. The Apollo Program Summary Report states 8.5.2.1 Lunar-surface contamination.- Nations involved in the exploration of extraterrestrial bodies have agreed to take all steps that are technically feasible to prevent the contam- ination of these bodies during ...


11

The "Nutrition and Human Spaceflight" section of NASA's Space Food factsheet has some good, basic information with links to specific research and studies. For example: The nutrients astronauts need in space are the same ones all people need, but the amounts of some differ. Astronauts need the same number of calories for energy during spaceflight as ...


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