Race to outer space: What space travel can do to you
EVERY CAPABLE COMPANY out there is racing to be the first to provide space travel.
But are aspiring space travelers getting all the education that they need about going to outer space?
The intergalactic world is a beautiful place, judging from Nasa’s breathtakingly beautiful pictures the agency often shares with the world.
But because we don’t know much about outer space (we’re still discovering places and things in our oceans’ depths, after all), it can also be a dangerous place.
Being away from gravity, something that the human body is accustomed to, for days at a time will take a toll on the human body. For example, Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai announced he had stretched 2cm in just three weeks onboard the International Space Station (ISS).
— 金井 宣茂 (@Astro_Kanai) January 9, 2018
Apparently, it’s normal for astronauts spending time in space.
Without gravity, a person’s spinal vertebrae (the 33 individual bones that interlock with each other to form the spinal column) can expand, leading to the height change.
A longer time spent in space can more physical pain. American astronaut Scott Kelly was the living experiment of a human being who had spent an extended time in space.
“I had soreness, stiffness, some bone loss and a bit of muscle loss. I had some swelling and an increase in my inner cranial pressure,” he explained, adding that he also experienced skin conditions such as rashes and hives, as well as nausea and dizziness as he adjusted back to the Earth’s atmosphere.
According to Nasa, here’s what space travel can do to you:
- The change of gravity in space can cause a loss of bone density, which could lead to osteoporosis-related fractures and long-term health problems.
- Lack of gravity may cause swelling, high blood pressure, and vision and organ problems.
- The closed environment can weaken the immune system.
- Space radiation is higher in space than on Earth. This could put you at risk of cancer and damage to your body’s nervous system.
- Space radiation can also cause sickness and fatigue.
That having said, not all hope is lost.
Kelly trip to space was a part of Nasa’s mission to lower the biomedical risk of space travel.
“Nasa is taking action on all of these risks and trying to minimize or mitigate the negative effects on the human body. The results of the one-year mission will provide more insight into these changes over a longer period of time, and present a stepping stone for even longer missions,” the agency wrote.
The China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, in its bid to be the country’s first space tourism provider, is already setting some important ground rules.
For example, only passengers between ages 18 and 65 that have neither heart disease nor hypertension can participate, and participating travelers will also need to undergo training sessions for several weeks to prepare for space travel.
Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos-owned company Blue Origin is reportedly working on rolling out space travel as soon as possible. In fact, the company will begin selling tickets for suborbital commercial space flights as early as next year.
Tickets prices have yet to be disclosed, but they’re likely to cost an arm and a leg. However, it’s expected to be lower than the estimated price of ElonMusk SpaceX’s for carrying people to the moon in 2022 – about US$200,000 a pop.
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Source: Travels travelwireasia.com