Author Topic: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation  (Read 6214 times)

Offline sanman

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Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« on: 04/21/2016 05:17 AM »
I was reading about the latest findings on mice which went to space aboard Shuttle Atlantis in 2011. They showed liver damage after only 2 weeks in orbit:

http://www.todayonline.com/world/mice-space-showed-liver-damage-after-two-weeks

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/04/20/liver-damage-in-space-mice-raises-doubts-for-human-exploration/

So what might be the reasons for this damage, and what are the implications of this for human spaceflight?

I always thought the main risks in orbit to human health were the muscular atrophy, osteoporosis, and of course some radiation exposure. I've always assumed that radiation isn't too bad below the Van Allen belts, and that it was manageable, barring some solar/cosmic event.

I'd never realized that astronauts came back suffering from diabetes or liver dysfunction. Is radiation the culprit here? Or is it possible that some other influence is behind it? A researcher mentions the possibility of physical stress, particularly during launch and reentry. Is it possible that animals may suffer more damage just from being more terrified in these situations?

What happens if, as more people start going out to space, we find all sorts of damage is occurring that we weren't aware of before? How will it change our plans for space?

How can we lower our risks when venturing out into space? Will it be a matter of taking a drug cocktail or keeping ourselves in stasis while in transit?
« Last Edit: 10/19/2016 07:59 AM by sanman »

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« Reply #1 on: 04/21/2016 05:31 AM »
I was reading about the latest findings on mice which went to space aboard Shuttle Atlantis in 2011. They showed liver damage after only 2 weeks in orbit:

http://www.todayonline.com/world/mice-space-showed-liver-damage-after-two-weeks

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/04/20/liver-damage-in-space-mice-raises-doubts-for-human-exploration/

So what might be the reasons for this damage, and what are the implications of this for human spaceflight?

I always thought the main risks in orbit to human health were the muscular atrophy, osteoporosis, and of course some radiation exposure. I've always assumed that radiation isn't too bad below the Van Allen belts, and that it was manageable, barring some solar/cosmic event.

I'd never realized that astronauts came back suffering from diabetes or liver dysfunction. Is radiation the culprit here? Or is it possible that some other influence is behind it? A researcher mentions the possibility of physical stress, particularly during launch and reentry. Is it possible that animals may suffer more damage just from being more terrified in these situations?

What happens if, as more people start going out to space, we find all sorts of damage is occurring that we weren't aware of before? How will it change our plans for space?

As usual the media drawing very alarmist conclusions from a very limited data set, willingly aided and abetted by researching after more funds.

"There is nobody who is a bigger fan of sending robots to Mars than me... But I believe firmly that the best, the most comprehensive, the most successful exploration will be done by humans" Steve Squyres

Offline sanman

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Re: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« Reply #2 on: 04/21/2016 05:38 AM »
So you feel that grantsmanship may be at work here, along with sensationalism. Gee, I hope so, because it would really suck to be trapped on our one planet.

Online Borklund

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Re: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« Reply #3 on: 04/21/2016 06:04 AM »
So you feel that grantsmanship may be at work here, along with sensationalism. Gee, I hope so, because it would really suck to be trapped on our one planet.
Bear in mind that the diabetes-like symptoms described for returning astronauts disappeared after a while back on Earth, and that microgravity (the culprit) can theoretically be mitigated/solved. This is why we need greater capability for more human research in space (not to mention further into space).

Offline sanman

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Re: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« Reply #4 on: 04/21/2016 06:31 AM »
Bear in mind that the diabetes-like symptoms described for returning astronauts disappeared after a while back on Earth, and that microgravity (the culprit) can theoretically be mitigated/solved. This is why we need greater capability for more human research in space (not to mention further into space).

So our liver needs gravity to function? Then maybe even a little bit of gravity per day could keep an astronaut healthy? Sounds like a case for developing a spinning hab.

Too bad there's no way to do microgravity/zero-G here on Earth, other than the brief Vomit-Comet rides, to better isolate the phenomenon for its health effects.
« Last Edit: 04/21/2016 06:33 AM by sanman »

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« Reply #5 on: 04/21/2016 09:23 AM »
Researchers can simulate zero-g on microscopic masses pretty cheaply using diamagnetic levitation. Apparently people have done it on whole mouse embryos, but it's expensive.

e.g., http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0273117709005985

Superconducting systems could be scaled up to human size, but it'd probably be cheaper just to fly :)
« Last Edit: 04/21/2016 09:26 AM by QuantumG »
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? The slowest possible.

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« Reply #6 on: 04/21/2016 12:44 PM »
I was reading about the latest findings on mice which went to space aboard Shuttle Atlantis in 2011. They showed liver damage after only 2 weeks in orbit:

http://www.todayonline.com/world/mice-space-showed-liver-damage-after-two-weeks

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/04/20/liver-damage-in-space-mice-raises-doubts-for-human-exploration/

So what might be the reasons for this damage, and what are the implications of this for human spaceflight?
{snip}

Two weeks is sufficiently short that we test the effects. Start with long periods without gravity.

Build a centrifuge that will rotate the Rodent Habitat at 1 G. Put some mice in the rotating habitat at the ISS and in a second static habitat. Have a third one as a control on the Earth. After 3 weeks compare the effects.
https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/RodentHabitatFS_1-15-14_2.pdf

Offline sanman

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Re: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« Reply #7 on: 04/22/2016 06:12 AM »
Two weeks is sufficiently short that we test the effects. Start with long periods without gravity.

Build a centrifuge that will rotate the Rodent Habitat at 1 G. Put some mice in the rotating habitat at the ISS and in a second static habitat. Have a third one as a control on the Earth. After 3 weeks compare the effects.
https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/RodentHabitatFS_1-15-14_2.pdf

And then pray that bad effects don't pan out - because if it does turn out that going to space is bad for your health, and this becomes popular public perception, then this could seriously undermine space tourism.

And if gravity proves to be necessary, then the space tourist industry will have to come up with ways to provide artificial gravity.

But weightlessness is just one example of the enhanced potential risks of space - there's radiation, there's living in an artificial environment, there's micrometeorites, etc, etc.

Will we ever see insurance companies insuring space tourists, just as they do to all sorts of regular vacationers? Will that ever happen, even in the far future?

If space is going to be opened up to the masses, then it's going to have to be made safer for the masses too. Otherwise, you could argue that Jules Verne had great ideas to achieve access to space - for those bold enough to travel like that.

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« Reply #8 on: 04/22/2016 06:00 PM »
{snip}
And if gravity proves to be necessary, then the space tourist industry will have to come up with ways to provide artificial gravity.

But weightlessness is just one example of the enhanced potential risks of space - there's radiation, there's living in an artificial environment, there's micrometeorites, etc, etc.

{snip}

Space radiation will have the same effect on the mice in the centrifuge and the static mice but the atmosphere will shield the mice on the Earth. If there is not one there already it is worth taking a radiation measuring device to the ISS.

Offline BrightLight

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Re: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« Reply #9 on: 07/26/2016 08:41 PM »
A new paper was published on Lithium Hydride deep space radiation mitigation:
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=20160003084&hterms=deep+space+habitat&qs=Ntx%3Dmode%2Bmatchallany%26Ntk%3DAll%26Ns%3DPublication-Date%7C1%26N%3D0%26Ntt%3Ddeep%2Bspace%2Bhabitat

basically, Lithium Hydride does a substantially better job then HDPE and has a density half that of Aluminum.
HDPE has a density of 0.97g/cm^3 while Lithium Hydride has a density between 0.54 and 0.57 g/cm^3.  this is a very good finding.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« Reply #10 on: 07/27/2016 02:18 AM »
A new paper was published on Lithium Hydride deep space radiation mitigation:
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=20160003084&hterms=deep+space+habitat&qs=Ntx%3Dmode%2Bmatchallany%26Ntk%3DAll%26Ns%3DPublication-Date%7C1%26N%3D0%26Ntt%3Ddeep%2Bspace%2Bhabitat

basically, Lithium Hydride does a substantially better job then HDPE and has a density half that of Aluminum.
HDPE has a density of 0.97g/cm^3 while Lithium Hydride has a density between 0.54 and 0.57 g/cm^3.  this is a very good finding.
The [EDIT]low[/EDIT] density in this application isn't a good thing. Denser is better, IF the specific radiation shielding remains the same.
« Last Edit: 07/28/2016 04:33 PM by Robotbeat »
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Offline BrightLight

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Re: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« Reply #11 on: 07/27/2016 02:23 PM »
A new paper was published on Lithium Hydride deep space radiation mitigation:
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=20160003084&hterms=deep+space+habitat&qs=Ntx%3Dmode%2Bmatchallany%26Ntk%3DAll%26Ns%3DPublication-Date%7C1%26N%3D0%26Ntt%3Ddeep%2Bspace%2Bhabitat

basically, Lithium Hydride does a substantially better job then HDPE and has a density half that of Aluminum.
HDPE has a density of 0.97g/cm^3 while Lithium Hydride has a density between 0.54 and 0.57 g/cm^3.  this is a very good finding.
The density in this application isn't a good thing. Denser is better, IF the specific radiation shielding remains the same.
I guess I misunderstood, for the same mass of shielding, I thought you get better protection from GCR's

Offline Eric Hedman

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Re: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« Reply #12 on: 07/27/2016 02:58 PM »
And then pray that bad effects don't pan out - because if it does turn out that going to space is bad for your health, and this becomes popular public perception, then this could seriously undermine space tourism.

And if gravity proves to be necessary, then the space tourist industry will have to come up with ways to provide artificial gravity.

But weightlessness is just one example of the enhanced potential risks of space - there's radiation, there's living in an artificial environment, there's micrometeorites, etc, etc.

Will we ever see insurance companies insuring space tourists, just as they do to all sorts of regular vacationers? Will that ever happen, even in the far future?

If space is going to be opened up to the masses, then it's going to have to be made safer for the masses too. Otherwise, you could argue that Jules Verne had great ideas to achieve access to space - for those bold enough to travel like that.
I wouldn't worry too much about this affecting the space tourism market yet.  Tourism will be starting with the quick sub-orbital flights which are not going to show any of these types of effects.  When it advances to orbital, I would bet most trips will be a couple of weeks or less.  We've had hundreds of people fly on short missions (a couple of weeks or less) including a few tourists without serious long term effects.   I doubt with this track record that it would scare too many tourists away from what will be the early markets.  It will be the adrenaline junkies first.  I don't think they will be frightened by this at all.  From the human experiences it is the long stays in space that are really the issue.

Offline Rei

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Re: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« Reply #13 on: 07/27/2016 04:41 PM »
A new paper was published on Lithium Hydride deep space radiation mitigation:
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=20160003084&hterms=deep+space+habitat&qs=Ntx%3Dmode%2Bmatchallany%26Ntk%3DAll%26Ns%3DPublication-Date%7C1%26N%3D0%26Ntt%3Ddeep%2Bspace%2Bhabitat

basically, Lithium Hydride does a substantially better job then HDPE and has a density half that of Aluminum.
HDPE has a density of 0.97g/cm^3 while Lithium Hydride has a density between 0.54 and 0.57 g/cm^3.  this is a very good finding.
The density in this application isn't a good thing. Denser is better, IF the specific radiation shielding remains the same.
I guess I misunderstood, for the same mass of shielding, I thought you get better protection from GCR's

For the same mass, yes, but that has nothing to do with the density of the compound.  The density comes into play in terms of determining the thickness.  Low density =  bulky.

It's also worth noting:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium_hydride#Safety

"As discussed above, LiH reacts explosively with water to give hydrogen gas and LiOH, which is caustic. Consequently, LiH dust can explode in humid air, or even in dry air due to static electricity. At concentrations of 555 mg/m3 in air the dust is extremely irritating to the mucous membranes and skin and may cause an allergic reaction. Because of the irritation, LiH is normally rejected rather than accumulated by the body.

Some lithium salts, which can be produced in LiH reactions, are toxic. LiH fire should not be extinguished using carbon dioxide, carbon tetrachloride, or aqueous fire extinguishers; they should be smothered by covering with a metal object or graphite or dolomite powder. Sand is less suitable as it can explode when mixed with burning LiH, especially if not dry. LiH is normally transported in oil, using containers made of ceramic, certain plastics or steel, and is handled in an atmosphere of dry argon or helium.[3]:156 Nitrogen can be used, but not at elevated temperatures as it reacts with lithium.[3]:157 LiH normally contains some metallic Li, which corrodes steel or silica containers at elevated temperatures."

Besides, HDPE is far from the best shielding material you can choose... you want compounds that are as hydrogen-rich as possible.  Ignoring hydrogen itself due to its terrible density and storage properties, your best options are CH4 and NH3, both of which have their uses in space rather than just being dead weight.  Water is also good, to a lesser degree, and is obviously critical.  Inside, for structural materials, you need plastics (since the aforementioned compounds aren't structural), ideally borated.

Offline jarnu

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Re: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« Reply #14 on: 07/28/2016 02:40 PM »
Hi,

Long time lurker and new rookie on board.

This item was posted on The Guardian (UK Newspaper)

Apollo Lunar Astronauts Show Higher Cardiovascular Disease Mortality


https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/jul/28/apollo-deep-space-astronauts-five-times-more-likely-to-die-from-heart-disease

The source was: http://www.nature.com/articles/srep29901

...
Writing in the journal Scientific Reports, a team of researchers including scientists from Johnson Space Centre and Nasa Ames Research Centre, describe how the compared the causes of death for the seven deceased Apollo astronauts with those of 35 low Earth orbit astronauts from the same era, and 35 non-flight astronauts.

While the sample size is tiny - a clear limitation to the study - the results reveal that 45% of the Apollo astronauts died from cardiovascular disease, compared to only 9% of non-flight astronauts and 11% of low Earth orbit astronauts.
...

More details in the links posted above.
« Last Edit: 07/28/2016 03:02 PM by jarnu »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« Reply #15 on: 07/29/2016 03:42 AM »
Sample size of seven! That's microscopic!
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Offline jarnu

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Re: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« Reply #16 on: 07/29/2016 09:27 AM »
Sample size of seven! That's microscopic!

It's worth to mention that many studies in so called 'special populations', like groups who suffers dementia and are deaf, or rare tropical diseases, or low occurrence combinations of circumstances and problems, might be restricted to sample of 20 individuals top. I'm not familiar with many medical studies but only with a tiny bit of neuroscience and experimental psychology ones. It is accepted that, in some cases, the target population and/or the experimental technique you used can't cope with a large sample or a very good value on precision or low statistical error or uncertainty. So you can publish those studies after being peer reviewed. In addition, it is very common to misunderstand the very high standards and scrutiny that those studies received (design, methodology, analysis, conclusions) against the numerical values that doesn't match the expectations of other branches of science or journalists. So they were dismissed sometimes as a fashionable career-builder studies. Please, don't follow that path.

Offline edkyle99

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Re: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« Reply #17 on: 07/29/2016 02:56 PM »
Interesting study that may show something, but there is still that sample size problem.  Of the eight  deceased beyond-LEO Apollo astronauts only three died of cardio issues (according to publicly available information).  Two died of cancer and one of pancreatitis.  One died in a motorcycle accident.  Edgar Mitchell recently passed away at age 85 after a "short illness". 

The three cardio cases were Jim Irwin (61), Ron Evans (56), and Neil Armstrong (82).

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 07/29/2016 03:13 PM by edkyle99 »

Offline A_M_Swallow

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Re: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« Reply #18 on: 07/29/2016 05:46 PM »
Interesting study that may show something, but there is still that sample size problem.  Of the eight  deceased beyond-LEO Apollo astronauts only three died of cardio issues (according to publicly available information).  Two died of cancer and one of pancreatitis.  One died in a motorcycle accident.  Edgar Mitchell recently passed away at age 85 after a "short illness". 

The three cardio cases were Jim Irwin (61), Ron Evans (56), and Neil Armstrong (82).

 - Ed Kyle

The first astronauts were test pilots. Compare their death rates and causes with test pilots that were contemporaries of Neil Armstrong.

Offline taavi_p

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Re: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« Reply #19 on: 10/10/2016 04:06 PM »
I'm not sure if this study has been already posted:

"Cosmic radiation exposure and persistent cognitive dysfunction" (http://www.nature.com/articles/srep34774).

Rodents were irradiated with simulated cosmic radiation for 12 and 24 weeks. Radiation caused brain damage and increased neuroinflammation that persisted 6 months after exposure. Effects included memory loss and anxiety.

Excerpt:

"The Mars mission will result in an inevitable exposure to cosmic radiation that has been shown to cause cognitive impairments in rodent models, and possibly in astronauts engaged in deep space travel. Of particular concern is the potential for cosmic radiation exposure to compromise critical decision making during normal operations or under emergency conditions in deep space."

IMHO that means that any BEO missions lasting longer than a week or so must have some form of radiation shielding. Just turning the ship's engine bay towards the Sun in the event of solar flare (as Musk said at the IAC event) is not going to cut it.
« Last Edit: 10/11/2016 12:33 AM by taavi_p »

Online Borklund

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Re: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« Reply #20 on: 10/11/2016 01:32 AM »
I'm not sure if this study has been already posted:

"Cosmic radiation exposure and persistent cognitive dysfunction" (http://www.nature.com/articles/srep34774).

Rodents were irradiated with simulated cosmic radiation for 12 and 24 weeks. Radiation caused brain damage and increased neuroinflammation that persisted 6 months after exposure. Effects included memory loss and anxiety.

Excerpt:

"The Mars mission will result in an inevitable exposure to cosmic radiation that has been shown to cause cognitive impairments in rodent models, and possibly in astronauts engaged in deep space travel. Of particular concern is the potential for cosmic radiation exposure to compromise critical decision making during normal operations or under emergency conditions in deep space."

IMHO that means that any BEO missions lasting longer than a week or so must have some form of radiation shielding. Just turning the ship's engine bay towards the Sun in the event of solar flare (as Musk said at the IAC event) is not going to cut it.
The crew is not directly behind just the engines, but that's besides the point.

"While carefully controlled terrestrial based experimentation has elucidated a number of potential mechanisms responsible for chronic CNS effects, realistic limitations related to cosmic radiation simulations on Earth and the extrapolation of rodent based behavioral studies to the neurocognitive functionality of astronauts is not without caveats. "

"Our exploration of strange new worlds should not be hampered by the fear of cosmic radiation exposure, but rather, inspire robust efforts to advance our understanding of a previously unrecognized problem."

More research is definitely needed!
« Last Edit: 10/11/2016 01:32 AM by Borklund »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« Reply #21 on: 10/24/2016 01:35 AM »
I'm not sure if this study has been already posted:

"Cosmic radiation exposure and persistent cognitive dysfunction" (http://www.nature.com/articles/srep34774).

Rodents were irradiated with simulated cosmic radiation for 12 and 24 weeks. Radiation caused brain damage and increased neuroinflammation that persisted 6 months after exposure. Effects included memory loss and anxiety.

Excerpt:

"The Mars mission will result in an inevitable exposure to cosmic radiation that has been shown to cause cognitive impairments in rodent models, and possibly in astronauts engaged in deep space travel. Of particular concern is the potential for cosmic radiation exposure to compromise critical decision making during normal operations or under emergency conditions in deep space."

IMHO that means that any BEO missions lasting longer than a week or so must have some form of radiation shielding. Just turning the ship's engine bay towards the Sun in the event of solar flare (as Musk said at the IAC event) is not going to cut it.
This was discuessed elsewhere. They used a total dose FAR greater than astronauts would receive in the same time period, orders of magnitude more. So the results are invalid. The fact that they didn't clearly put this upfront and didn't focus on this during their conclusions and results means the paper should be either retracted or amended.
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To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline CyndyC

Re: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« Reply #22 on: 10/26/2016 08:54 PM »
No one has mentioned the shifting in the flow of body fluids that has caused vision changes and intracranial pressure in more than half of American astronauts. The actual shape of the eyeball changes. The Russians have a lower body negative pressure suit on the ISS being used as an experimental preventive measure.

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/news/fluid_shifts
Quote
The human body is approximately 60 percent fluids. During spaceflight, these fluids shift to the upper body and move across blood vessel and cell membranes differently than they normally do on Earth...... a pattern NASA calls visual impairment and intracranial pressure syndrome, or VIIP. It involves changes in vision and the structure of the eyes and indirect signs of increased pressure in the brain.....
"Once a Blue, always a Blue." -- USN/USMC Flight Demonstration Squadron

Offline sanman

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Re: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« Reply #23 on: 02/02/2017 10:34 AM »
Space changes the shape of your brain too, apparently:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4181448/Prolonged-spaceflight-changes-shape-brain.html


Additionally, it seems to even subtly affect DNA in ways that can matter a lot:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/01/31/going-into-space-affects-dna-astronaut-twins/97295132/


Does this once again point to the need for artificial gravity, or rather to just make spaceflight a quicker/briefer experience?


Or is it possible that toughing it out in space will lead humans to develop genetic adaptations - aka. Homo Spaciens?
« Last Edit: 02/02/2017 10:45 AM by sanman »

Offline AncientU

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Re: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« Reply #24 on: 02/02/2017 12:32 PM »
The real question is whether there is a threshold acceleration and how are effects related to amount of gravity present (linear, exponential, something more complex).  A one-sixth g station on the Moon could tell us bunches about living on Mars (at 0.38g).  An orbital artificial gravity facility could study the relationship from zero up to >one g*, but having another data point at Lunar gravity which brackets the Mars situation is vastly superior to having a single point at zero g.

Being optimistic, it is possible that 0.38g is much more similar to Earth's acceleration than it is to zero g (i.e., the health effects are minimal).  Most seem to assume the more pessimistic... anything less than one g is a health hazard.

* At the cost of a couple decades of experimentation and $$Billions.
« Last Edit: 02/02/2017 12:40 PM by AncientU »
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Offline gospacex

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Re: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« Reply #25 on: 02/02/2017 12:47 PM »
Does this once again point to the need for artificial gravity, or rather to just make spaceflight a quicker/briefer experience?

This points to the need to have much more study.

Quote
is it possible that toughing it out in space will lead humans to develop genetic adaptations - aka. Homo Spaciens?

Advances in gene manipulation are inevitable: there are people with genetic diseases, predispositions to have some diseases because of some genes not working properly, thus the research on how to correct genome is guaranteed to be funded regardless of space program. And correcting genome = changing genome. Much further down the road, say 300 years, and you can dial yourself new genes to have x100 resistance to cancer. Or a set of wings...
« Last Edit: 02/02/2017 12:48 PM by gospacex »

Offline AncientU

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Re: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« Reply #26 on: 02/02/2017 12:51 PM »
You underestimate the complexity of hacking wetware.
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Offline AncientU

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Re: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« Reply #27 on: 02/02/2017 01:15 PM »
Space changes the shape of your brain too, apparently:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4181448/Prolonged-spaceflight-changes-shape-brain.html


Additionally, it seems to even subtly affect DNA in ways that can matter a lot:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/01/31/going-into-space-affects-dna-astronaut-twins/97295132/


Does this once again point to the need for artificial gravity, or rather to just make spaceflight a quicker/briefer experience?


Or is it possible that toughing it out in space will lead humans to develop genetic adaptations - aka. Homo Spaciens?

Quote
- Scott's telomeres on the ends of his chromosomes in his white blood cells lengthened while in space.

Lengthening the telomeres is actually beneficial... one aging effect is being offset. 
All changes are not necessarily harmful.
"If we shared everything [we are working on] people would think we are insane!"
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Offline sanman

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Re: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« Reply #28 on: 02/04/2017 08:06 AM »
Lengthening the telomeres is actually beneficial... one aging effect is being offset. 
All changes are not necessarily harmful.

Hopefully it is - though perhaps not if you're at risk for cancer. That Hayflick limit from the telomeres is supposed to prevent runaway multiplication of cells in a cancer situation, although as you say, this can limit our lifespan in other ways.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« Reply #29 on: 02/13/2017 04:18 PM »
A new paper was published on Lithium Hydride deep space radiation mitigation:
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=20160003084&hterms=deep+space+habitat&qs=Ntx%3Dmode%2Bmatchallany%26Ntk%3DAll%26Ns%3DPublication-Date%7C1%26N%3D0%26Ntt%3Ddeep%2Bspace%2Bhabitat

basically, Lithium Hydride does a substantially better job then HDPE and has a density half that of Aluminum.
HDPE has a density of 0.97g/cm^3 while Lithium Hydride has a density between 0.54 and 0.57 g/cm^3.  this is a very good finding.
Just a not this is not just using LiH itself. It's using it as a GH2 store, like the plan for Hydrogen vehicles as an interstitial absorbent.
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Offline envy887

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Re: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« Reply #30 on: 02/17/2017 03:16 AM »
I'm not sure if this study has been already posted:

"Cosmic radiation exposure and persistent cognitive dysfunction" (http://www.nature.com/articles/srep34774).

Rodents were irradiated with simulated cosmic radiation for 12 and 24 weeks. Radiation caused brain damage and increased neuroinflammation that persisted 6 months after exposure. Effects included memory loss and anxiety.

Excerpt:

"The Mars mission will result in an inevitable exposure to cosmic radiation that has been shown to cause cognitive impairments in rodent models, and possibly in astronauts engaged in deep space travel. Of particular concern is the potential for cosmic radiation exposure to compromise critical decision making during normal operations or under emergency conditions in deep space."

IMHO that means that any BEO missions lasting longer than a week or so must have some form of radiation shielding. Just turning the ship's engine bay towards the Sun in the event of solar flare (as Musk said at the IAC event) is not going to cut it.

That study radiated the mice at 50 to 250 cGy per minute. Astronauts with minimal shielding will get about 1.5 cGy per YEAR in deep space.

That's like smashing the mouse skull with a hammer and saying "hey look, its cognitive function is impaired!!!". Well, duh.

Offline spacester

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Re: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« Reply #31 on: 04/14/2017 11:17 PM »
We are not going to be able to call ourselves a space-faring species until  we have gained life science knowledge from living in alternate gravity fields.

We have a beautiful, natural 1/6 G field on the moon, and a spin-gravity ship just isn't that crazy of an idea with 2020 right around the corner.

At 3 rpm, Coriolis forces can be expected to be noticeable but easily tolerable.

As it turns out, it is also true that at 3 rpm the fraction of 1 G is equal to the spin radius in meters.

So build a ship with a 100 meter radius, spin it at 3 rpm, and let's start doing life science in the kinds of gravity environments thay our space-faring descendents will almost certainly be living in.

People say there's nothing to do on the moon, yet we have done next to zero life science there.

Offline lcasv

Re: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« Reply #32 on: 04/28/2017 03:22 PM »
Our effort must be oriented to get artificial gravity. check this proposal.

Offline Hog

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Re: Health Risks in Space and Mitigation
« Reply #33 on: 04/29/2017 08:48 AM »
Isnt there an ISS section for inducing artificial gravity laying around somewhere?
Paul

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