SALT LAKE CITY — Exploring space is all fine and good, but what if it’s wrecking astronauts’ bodies?
According to Vox, the weightlessness of space can have weird effects on the human body, like causing swollen eyeballs, weakened bones and high exposure to radiation.
The article notes the limit on spending time in space is currently unclear. An astronaut who spent a full year in space — Scott Kelly — suffered from slower mental function and physical illness, likely due to the shift in gravity.
Here are some other issues that come hand in hand with space travel, according to Vox:2 comments on this story
- Most issues associated with space and the human body are due to experiencing microgravity environments or heavy radiation.
- Astronauts experience gradual muscle atrophy while in space, something that can’t be reversed unless they come back to Earth.
- An astronaut on a one-way trip to Mars could be exposed to the radioactive equivalent of 24 CAT scans, which is 15 times the radiation limit for nuclear power plant workers.
- Isolation and poor living conditions in space could lead to high stress, loss in brain volume and other psychological effects, similar to people who are confined to research bases in Antarctica for the winter.
- While astronauts could be heading to the moon and Mars within the next decade, there isn’t enough information out there on how space could affect a person long term.
Vox also reports that even after getting off the ground and making it into space, astronauts traveling to Mars could accidentally crash-land on the planet, among other issues.
Space exploration and travel have been a hot topic recently, with the White House directing NASA to plan for a permanent space station to orbit the moon by 2024, the Verge reports. Trips to Mars have also been thrown around by the space agency and business people like Elon Musk.