My report is on the human body in space. There are many things that come into planning a space launch. For example, the astronauts that venture into space are affected by the complete lack of gravity. Now to me and you this seems like fun but to the people who spend large amounts of time in space or even the people who easily become motion sick, this is a terrible way to live for weeks at a time. You see when you turn off gravity completely your mind cannot determine which way is down. If your mind cannot feel the constant pressure of earth’s gravity it becomes confused and begins to rely on other senses such as sight motion and hearing to tell which way is down. These types of substitutions often confuse the brain even more, which sometimes causes what is called vertigo.
Vertigo is the feeling you experience when you are dizzy or off balanced by something or some force. Some find this sensation tolerable and others find it nauseating.
Another reason weightlessness is so bad is because the bones in your body are used to supporting your specific weight since you were born. When you take away gravity your bones are suddenly free from supporting you. When this happens your body reacts by no longer maintaining these bones since they are not in use. As a result your bone mass can decrease. If your bones decrease in mass enough you wouldn’t be able to do much of anything when you return to earth.
These types of staggering changes can affect their performance while working on such an advanced station. So to counter the effects scientists rotate the space stations the astronauts work on at a speed equal to the earths and the astronauts can experience a type of simulated gravity that decreases the number of threats just described. But this is only one solution to an array of deadly problems. We will go into these precautionary systems later on. Now you should know more of the dangers of space.
While in space you are a lot closer to the sun and outside of the ozone layer. This means that you are also not protected as well from the radiation it spews forth twenty-four hours a day. This long of exposure at such high levels can affect the astronauts genetically, physically, etc. So of course there is need for some type of protection or the slightest infection or cold could be fatal to the astronauts after a couple of days.
Another of the dangers of outer space is one that is man-made. On a space station people obviously need oxygen to breath. To keep the oxygen from being sucked back into the vacuum of space scientists invented a system that seals oxygen in the ship and circulates it so that the workers don’t have to worry about needing oxygen tanks. But, these tanks and reinforced walls create what is called cabin pressure, which creates an environment much like that in an oxygen tank. This type of environment can cause hallucinations and even delirium. These environments can cause serious psychological damage to a person’s psyche especially after long periods of time, which is usually the case.
Lastly, isolation is the least common cause of failed space experimentation. When a space mission is started, at most six people are sent. But if an experiment has to last more than a two weeks only two people are the maximum allowed staying on the station or satellite to finish the work and then navigate back to earth. With all the duties that go along with maintaining a space station or satellite, there is little time for the two people to interact so for the most part these people are alone save for maybe their sleep hours. But the sleep hours are mandatory to keep the astronauts alert and healthy. As a result people often become home sick and bored from doing their appointed tasks. This is the most infrequent problem that arises because astronauts are thoroughly trained before leaving for a mission.
Now that we have established the factors working against N.A.S.A. we should look at how scientists have gotten around such problems. All problems have solutions and sometimes the most efficient answer is the most obvious. In the example of zero gravity we said that the body stops making bone tissue because of the lack of weight. We already answered how they restored gravity in a space station but what about an orbiting satellite that can’t support this type of rotation lest it fall out of its orbit. Some one might say why not just have them exercise while in space? Well, in the first place the muscle and bone would be gaining nothing from the workouts because the weights are also weightless in orbit. Plus with a heavy schedule for the day they would need a lot of time to properly exercise.
To solve this problem scientists have created workout equipment that efficiently exercises all the muscles and bones in your body. They look exactly rubber bands connected to a stick. The bands stretch about waist high, so the astronauts bend down and put the stick behind their head. With their feet now firmly secured to the ships hull all they have to do is basically stand up over and over. Scientists are currently working on new solutions to these problems. For example a chicken breeder has developed a machine that sends low-toned sound vibrations through the body, stimulating the muscles and giving the appearance of a full days workout although it takes as long as fifteen minutes twice a day.
As I said before radiation increases at a dramatic rate as you get closer to the sun. This huge increase could be potentially being fatal if the ships were not properly insulated against high levels. First off, the ship has three protective layers made to filter the radiation and in some cases power the ship. Although this sounds comforting there is too much we don’t understand about the solar radiation that we still do not know about. As another precaution everyone in the ship wears a protective suit that filtrates all types of low-level radiation except for UV rays, which is healthy and helpful for the body and growth. These suits are also the inner layers of the suits astronauts wear out into space to do manual operations outside a ship.
In the matter of cabin pressure there is little that can be done to remedy such a byproduct of space exploration. The least scientists could have come up with was a small egg-shaped case that can house only one person sitting in the built in chair. In here the cabin pressure environment is created and the person is exposed to it for small periods of time and gradually increases day after day. As we can see here, some answers just haven’t been found yet so we do the best that we can with our resources.
In the case of isolation there is no training. None, zero zilch. You do not have a program that you can take before a mission that can help you deal with the isolation. The best scientists have come up with is a series army and marine training techniques that help the human mind to concentrate on something other than what is bothering them. Again we do what we can for the time being. Although a computer system that the astronauts can interact with has been purposed a number of times most stations that actually had to deal with such rare situations don’t have the time or real need for such a bulky computer system that would keep an astronaut occupied rather than healthy. So in this case the astronauts must rely on their own determination and that cannot be taught.