Human adaptation to space

Human adaptation to space

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Human physiological adaptation to the conditions of space
Outer space
Outer space is the void that exists between celestial bodies, including the Earth. It is not completely empty, but consists of a hard vacuum containing a low density of particles: predominantly a plasma of hydrogen and helium, as well as electromagnetic radiation, magnetic fields, and neutrinos....

 is a challenge faced in the development of human spaceflight
Human spaceflight
Human spaceflight is spaceflight with humans on the spacecraft. When a spacecraft is manned, it can be piloted directly, as opposed to machine or robotic space probes and remotely-controlled satellites....

.

The fundamental engineering problems of escaping Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

's gravity well
Gravity well
A gravity well or gravitational well is a conceptual model of the gravitational field surrounding a body in space. The more massive the body the deeper and more extensive the gravity well associated with it. The Sun has a far-reaching and deep gravity well. Asteroids and small moons have much...

 and developing systems for in-space propulsion have been examined for well over a century, and millions of man-hours of research have been spent on them. In recent years there has been an increase in research into the issue of how humans can survive and work in space for extended and possibly indefinite periods of time. This question requires input from the whole gamut of physical and biological sciences and has now become the greatest challenge, other than funding, to human space exploration
Space exploration
Space exploration is the use of space technology to explore outer space. Physical exploration of space is conducted both by human spaceflights and by robotic spacecraft....

. A fundamental step in overcoming this challenge is trying to understand the effects and the impact long-term space travel has on the human body.

Importance



The sum of mankind's experience has resulted in the accumulation of 58 solar years in space and a much better understanding of how the human body adapts. In the future, industrialisation of space
Space manufacturing
Space manufacturing is the production of manufactured goods in an environment outside a planetary atmosphere. Typically this includes conditions of microgravity and hard vacuum.Manufacturing in space has several potential advantages over Earth-based industry....

 and exploration of inner and outer planets will require humans to endure longer and longer periods in space. The majority of current data comes from missions of short duration and so some of the long-term physiological effects of living in space are still unknown. A round trip to Mars
Mars
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. It is often described as the "Red Planet", as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance...

 with current technology is estimated to involve at least 18 months in transit alone. How the human body reacts to such time periods in space is a vital part of the preparation for such journeys. On-board medical facilities need to be able to cope with any type of trauma or emergency as well as contain a huge variety of diagnostic and medical instruments in order to keep a crew healthy over a long period of time, as these will be the only facilities available on board a spacecraft to cope with not only trauma, but also the adaptive responses of the human body in space.

Effects on humans


The effects of space conditions on humans can be separated into two areas, the physical and the psychological.

Unprotected effects



The environment of space is lethal without appropriate protection. The greatest threat is from the lack of pressure in the vacuum environment, while temperature and radiation effects also have an influence. In the low pressure environment, gas exchange in the lungs would continue as normal but would result in the removal of all gases, including oxygen, from the bloodstream. After 9 to 12 seconds, the deoxygenated blood would reach the brain, and loss of consciousness would result. Death would gradually follow after two minutes of exposure—though the limits are uncertain. As shown in the film depiction of Arthur C. Clarke
Arthur C. Clarke
Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, CBE, FRAS was a British science fiction author, inventor, and futurist, famous for his short stories and novels, among them 2001: A Space Odyssey, and as a host and commentator in the British television series Mysterious World. For many years, Robert A. Heinlein,...

’s vignette in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), if actions are taken quickly, and normal pressure restored within around 90 seconds, the victim may well make a full recovery.

Humans and other animals exposed to vacuum will lose consciousness
Consciousness
Consciousness is a term that refers to the relationship between the mind and the world with which it interacts. It has been defined as: subjectivity, awareness, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind...

 after a few seconds and die of hypoxia
Hypoxia (medical)
Hypoxia, or hypoxiation, is a pathological condition in which the body as a whole or a region of the body is deprived of adequate oxygen supply. Variations in arterial oxygen concentrations can be part of the normal physiology, for example, during strenuous physical exercise...

 within minutes, but the symptoms are not nearly as graphic as the imagery in the public media. Blood
Blood
Blood is a specialized bodily fluid in animals that delivers necessary substances such as nutrients and oxygen to the cells and transports metabolic waste products away from those same cells....

 and other body fluids do boil when their pressure drops below 6.3 kPa (47 Torr), the vapour pressure of water at body temperature. This condition is called ebullism
Ebullism
Ebullism is the formation of gas bubbles in bodily fluids due to reduced environmental pressure, for example at high altitude. It occurs because a system of liquid and gas at equilibrium will see a net conversion of liquid to gas as pressure lowers, for example, liquids reach their boiling point...

. The steam may bloat the body to twice its normal size and slow circulation, but tissues are elastic and porous enough to prevent rupture. Ebullism is slowed by the pressure containment of blood vessels, so some blood remains liquid. Swelling and ebullism can be reduced by containment in a flight suit
Flight suit
A flight suit is a full body garment, worn while flying aircraft such as military airplanes, gliders and helicopters. These suits are generally made to keep the wearer warm, as well as being practical , and durable . Its appearance is usually similar to a jumpsuit. A military flight suit may also...

. Shuttle
Space Shuttle program
NASA's Space Shuttle program, officially called Space Transportation System , was the United States government's manned launch vehicle program from 1981 to 2011...

 astronauts wear a fitted elastic garment called the Crew Altitude Protection Suit (CAPS) which prevents ebullism at pressures as low as 2 kPa (15 Torr). Rapid evaporative cooling of the skin will create frost, particularly in the mouth, but this is not a significant hazard.

A short term exposure to vacuum of up to 30 seconds is unlikely to cause permanent physical damage. Animal experiments show that rapid and complete recovery is normal for exposures shorter than 90 seconds, while longer full-body exposures are fatal and resuscitation has never been successful. There is only a limited amount of data available from human accidents, but it is consistent with animal data. Limbs may be exposed for much longer if breathing is not impaired. Robert Boyle
Robert Boyle
Robert Boyle FRS was a 17th century natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, and inventor, also noted for his writings in theology. He has been variously described as English, Irish, or Anglo-Irish, his father having come to Ireland from England during the time of the English plantations of...

 was the first to show in 1660 that vacuum is lethal to small animals. In 1942, in one of a series of experiments on human subjects
Nazi human experimentation
Nazi human experimentation was a series of medical experiments on large numbers of prisoners by the Nazi German regime in its concentration camps mainly in the early 1940s, during World War II and the Holocaust. Prisoners were coerced into participating: they did not willingly volunteer and there...

 for the Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

, the Nazi regime
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 exposed Dachau concentration camp prisoners to vacuum in order to determine the human body's capacity to survive high-altitude conditions.

As well as experimentation with humans and monkeys, a few cases of loss of pressure have occurred in the past, especially in experimentation on spaceflight projects. One such case is discussed in a NASA technical report: Rapid (Explosive) Decompression Emergencies in Pressure-Suited Subjects:
"At NASA's Manned Spacecraft Center (now renamed Johnson Space Center) we had a test subject accidentally exposed to a near vacuum (less than 1 psi) [7 kPa] in an incident involving a leaking space suit in a vacuum chamber back in '65. He remained conscious for about 14 seconds, which is about the time it takes for O2 deprived blood to go from the lungs to the brain. The suit probably did not reach a hard vacuum, and we began repressurizing the chamber within 15 seconds. The subject regained consciousness at around 15,000 feet [4600 m] equivalent altitude. The subject later reported that he could feel and hear the air leaking out, and his last conscious memory was of the water on his tongue beginning to boil."


There has been one recorded incident of death from decompression in spaceflight, the Soyuz 11
Soyuz 11
Soyuz 11 was the first manned mission to arrive at the world's first space station, Salyut 1. The mission arrived at the space station on June 7, 1971 and departed on June 30, 1971. The mission ended in disaster when the crew capsule depressurized during preparations for re-entry, killing the...

 decompression accident in 1971, which resulted in the death of the three cosmonauts on board.

Cold or oxygen-rich atmospheres can sustain life at pressures much lower than atmospheric, as long as the density of oxygen is similar to that of standard sea-level atmosphere. The colder air temperatures found at altitudes of up to 3 km generally compensate for the lower pressures there. Above this altitude, oxygen enrichment is necessary to prevent altitude sickness
Altitude sickness
Altitude sickness—also known as acute mountain sickness , altitude illness, hypobaropathy, or soroche—is a pathological effect of high altitude on humans, caused by acute exposure to low partial pressure of oxygen at high altitude...

, and spacesuits are necessary to prevent ebullism above 19 km. Most spacesuits use only 20 kPa (150 Torr) of pure oxygen, just enough to sustain full consciousness. This pressure is high enough to prevent ebullism, but simple evaporation
Evaporation
Evaporation is a type of vaporization of a liquid that occurs only on the surface of a liquid. The other type of vaporization is boiling, which, instead, occurs on the entire mass of the liquid....

 of blood, or of gases dissolved in the blood, can still cause decompression sickness
Decompression sickness
Decompression sickness describes a condition arising from dissolved gases coming out of solution into bubbles inside the body on depressurization...

 (the bends) and gas embolisms
Air embolism
An air embolism, or more generally gas embolism, is a pathological condition caused by gas bubbles in a vascular system. The most common context is a human body, in which case it refers to gas bubbles in the bloodstream...

 if not managed.

Rapid decompression
Decompression
Decompression has several meanings:* Decompression , the release of pressure and the opposition of physical compression* Decompression sickness, a condition arising from the precipitation of dissolved gases into bubbles inside the body on depressurization* Decompression , a procedure used to treat...

 can be much more dangerous than vacuum exposure itself. Even if the victim does not hold his breath, venting through the windpipe may be too slow to prevent the fatal rupture of the delicate alveoli of the lung
Lung
The lung is the essential respiration organ in many air-breathing animals, including most tetrapods, a few fish and a few snails. In mammals and the more complex life forms, the two lungs are located near the backbone on either side of the heart...

s. Eardrum
Eardrum
The eardrum, or tympanic membrane, is a thin membrane that separates the external ear from the middle ear in humans and other tetrapods. Its function is to transmit sound from the air to the ossicles inside the middle ear. The malleus bone bridges the gap between the eardrum and the other ossicles...

s and sinuses may be ruptured by rapid decompression, soft tissues may bruise and seep blood, and the stress of shock will accelerate oxygen consumption leading to hypoxia. Injuries caused by rapid decompression are called barotrauma
Barotrauma
Barotrauma is physical damage to body tissues caused by a difference in pressure between an air space inside or beside the body and the surrounding fluid...

, and are well known from scuba diving
Scuba diving
Scuba diving is a form of underwater diving in which a diver uses a scuba set to breathe underwater....

 accidents. A pressure drop as small as 100 Torr (13 kPa), which produces no symptoms if it is gradual, may be fatal if it occurs suddenly.

In a vacuum there is no medium for removing heat from the body by conduction or convection. Loss of heat is by radiation from the 310 K person to the 3 K of outer space. This is a slow process, especially in a clothed person, so there is no danger of immediately freezing. (Evaporation of skin moisture in the vacuum would cause immediate cooling but only by a very small amount.
)
Exposure to the 600 K radiation from the Sun would lead to local heating that would be well distributed by the body's conductivity and blood circulation. Other solar radiation
Radiation
In physics, radiation is a process in which energetic particles or energetic waves travel through a medium or space. There are two distinct types of radiation; ionizing and non-ionizing...

, particularly ultraviolet
Ultraviolet
Ultraviolet light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength shorter than that of visible light, but longer than X-rays, in the range 10 nm to 400 nm, and energies from 3 eV to 124 eV...

 rays, may cause severe sunburn in a few seconds.

Protected effects



Despite modern technology, some hazards still prove impossible to remove. The most important factor affecting human physical well-being in space is weightlessness, more accurately defined as microgravity environments. Living in this type of environment impacts on three types of human tissue:
  • gravity receptors
  • fluids
  • weight bearing
    Weight bearing
    In orthopedics, weight-bearing is the amount of weight a patient puts on the leg on which surgery has been performed. In general, it is described as a percentage of the body weight, because each leg of a healthy person carries the full body weight when walking, in an alternating fashion.After...

     structures

Gravity receptors


Living on earth we constantly feel the gravitational pull and our bodies react automatically to maintain posture and locomotion in a downward pulling world. In microgravity environments, these constant signals the body is adapted to are absent. The otolith
Otolith
An otolith, , also called statoconium or otoconium is a structure in the saccule or utricle of the inner ear, specifically in the vestibular labyrinth of vertebrates. The saccule and utricle, in turn, together make the otolith organs. They are sensitive to gravity and linear acceleration...

 organs in the middle ear
Ear
The ear is the organ that detects sound. It not only receives sound, but also aids in balance and body position. The ear is part of the auditory system....

 sensitive to linear accelerations no longer perceive a downwards bias, muscles are no longer required to contract to maintain posture and pressure receptors in the feet and ankles no longer signal the direction of down. These changes can immediately result in visual-orientation illusions where the astronaut feels he has flipped 180 degrees. Over time however the brain adapts and although these illusions can still occur most astronauts begin to see "down" as where the feet are. People returning to Earth after extended weightless periods initially have great difficulty maintaining their balance but recover the ability very quickly, highlighting the remarkable ability of the human body to adapt. Over half of astronauts also experience symptoms of motion sickness
Motion sickness
Motion sickness or kinetosis, also known as travel sickness, is a condition in which a disagreement exists between visually perceived movement and the vestibular system's sense of movement...

 for the first three days of travel due to the conflict between what the body expects and what the body actually perceives.

Fluids


The second effect of weightlessness takes place in human fluids. The body is made up of 60% water, much of it intra-vascular and inter-cellular. Within a few moments of entering a microgravity environment, fluid is immediately re-distributed to the upper body resulting in bulging neck veins, puffy face and sinus and nasal congestion which can last throughout the duration of the trip and is very much like the symptoms of the common cold. In space the autonomic reactions of the body to maintain blood pressure are not required and fluid is distributed more widely around the whole body. This results in a decrease in plasma
Blood plasma
Blood plasma is the straw-colored liquid component of blood in which the blood cells in whole blood are normally suspended. It makes up about 55% of the total blood volume. It is the intravascular fluid part of extracellular fluid...

 (water in the blood stream) volume of around 20%. These fluid shifts initiate a cascade of adaptive systemic effects that can be dangerous upon return to earth. Orthostatic intolerance
Orthostatic intolerance
Orthostatic intolerance is a subcategory of dysautonomia, a disorder of the autonomic nervous system occurring when an individual stands up....

 results in astronauts returning to Earth after extended space missions being unable to stand unassisted for more than 10 minutes at a time without fainting. This is due in part to changes in the autonomic regulation of blood pressure and the loss of plasma volume. Although this effect becomes worse the longer the time spent in space, as yet all individuals have returned to normal within at most a few weeks of landing.

Weight-bearing structures


The third and most worrying effect of long-term weightlessness involves bone
Bone
Bones are rigid organs that constitute part of the endoskeleton of vertebrates. They support, and protect the various organs of the body, produce red and white blood cells and store minerals. Bone tissue is a type of dense connective tissue...

s and muscle
Muscle
Muscle is a contractile tissue of animals and is derived from the mesodermal layer of embryonic germ cells. Muscle cells contain contractile filaments that move past each other and change the size of the cell. They are classified as skeletal, cardiac, or smooth muscles. Their function is to...

s. Without the effects of gravity, skeletal muscle
Skeletal muscle
Skeletal muscle is a form of striated muscle tissue existing under control of the somatic nervous system- i.e. it is voluntarily controlled. It is one of three major muscle types, the others being cardiac and smooth muscle...

 is no longer required to maintain our posture and the muscle groups used in moving around in a weightless environment are very different to those required in terrestrial locomotion. Consequently some muscles atrophy rapidly. The types of muscle fibre prominent in muscles also change. Slow twitch endurance fibres used to maintain posture are replaced by fast twitch rapidly contracting fibres that are insufficient for any heavy labour. Bone
Bone
Bones are rigid organs that constitute part of the endoskeleton of vertebrates. They support, and protect the various organs of the body, produce red and white blood cells and store minerals. Bone tissue is a type of dense connective tissue...

 metabolism also changes. Normally bone is laid down in the direction of mechanical stress, however in a microgravity environment there is very little mechanical stress. This results in a loss of bone tissue
Spaceflight osteopenia
Spaceflight osteopenia refers to the characteristic bone loss that occurs during spaceflight. Astronauts lose an average of more than 1% bone mass per month spent in space...

 approximately 1.5% per month especially from the lower vertebrae, hip and femur. Elevated blood calcium
Calcium
Calcium is the chemical element with the symbol Ca and atomic number 20. It has an atomic mass of 40.078 amu. Calcium is a soft gray alkaline earth metal, and is the fifth-most-abundant element by mass in the Earth's crust...

 levels from the lost bone result in dangerous calcification of soft tissues and potential kidney stone
Kidney stone
A kidney stone, also known as a renal calculus is a solid concretion or crystal aggregation formed in the kidneys from dietary minerals in the urine...

 formation. It is still unknown whether bone recovers completely. Loss of bone and muscle make it very difficult for humans to move and even breathe under the weight of Earth's pull upon their return.

Effects of radiation


Weightlessness is not the only factor to affect the human body in space. Without the protection of the Earth's atmosphere and magnetosphere
Magnetosphere
A magnetosphere is formed when a stream of charged particles, such as the solar wind, interacts with and is deflected by the intrinsic magnetic field of a planet or similar body. Earth is surrounded by a magnetosphere, as are the other planets with intrinsic magnetic fields: Mercury, Jupiter,...

 astronauts are exposed to high levels of radiation
Radiation
In physics, radiation is a process in which energetic particles or energetic waves travel through a medium or space. There are two distinct types of radiation; ionizing and non-ionizing...

 through a steady flux of cosmic ray
Cosmic ray
Cosmic rays are energetic charged subatomic particles, originating from outer space. They may produce secondary particles that penetrate the Earth's atmosphere and surface. The term ray is historical as cosmic rays were thought to be electromagnetic radiation...

s which pose a serious health threat
Health threat from cosmic rays
The health threat from cosmic rays is the danger posed by galactic cosmic rays and solar energetic particles to astronauts on interplanetary missions.Galactic cosmic rays consist of high energy protons and other nuclei with extrasolar origin...

. A year in even low-earth orbit results in a dose of radiation 10 times that of the annual dose on earth resulting in a high risk of astronauts developing cancer. High levels of radiation can create 'chromosomal aberrations' in blood lymphocytes. These cells are heavily involved in the immune system
Immune system
An immune system is a system of biological structures and processes within an organism that protects against disease by identifying and killing pathogens and tumor cells. It detects a wide variety of agents, from viruses to parasitic worms, and needs to distinguish them from the organism's own...

 and so any damage may contribute to the lowered immunity
Immunity (medical)
Immunity is a biological term that describes a state of having sufficient biological defenses to avoid infection, disease, or other unwanted biological invasion. Immunity involves both specific and non-specific components. The non-specific components act either as barriers or as eliminators of wide...

 experienced by astronauts. Over time immunodeficiency results in the rapid spread of infection between crew members, especially in such confined areas. Radiation has also recently been linked to a higher incidence of cataracts in astronauts. Protective shielding and protective drugs may lower the risks to astronauts to an acceptable level, but data is scarce, and longer-term exposure will result in greater risks.

Sense of taste


One effect of weightlessness on humans is that some astronauts report a change in their sense of taste in space. Some astronauts find that their food is bland, others find that their favorite foods no longer taste as good, some astronauts enjoy eating certain foods that they would not normally eat and some find no change whatsoever.
The reason for this is uncertain, and several theories have been suggested:
  • Congestion
    Nasal congestion
    Nasal congestion is the blockage of the nasal passages usually due to membranes lining the nose becoming swollen from inflamed blood vessels. It is also known as nasal blockage, nasal obstruction, blocked nose, stuffy nose, or stuffed up nose.Nasal congestion has many causes and can range from a...

    : Microgravity may cause fluid buildup in the sinuses, changing the taste in a similar fashion to holding one's nose while eating.
  • Physical food degradation: Food in orbit is often stored for some months before being consumed. This and the stellar radiation may cause a breakdown in the groups of chemicals that give food its taste, resulting in bland food.
  • Boredom: Menus for the ISS astronauts are planned on a repeating 8-day cycle, which are selected from a menu designed by NASA, and taken into space with the astronaut. This constant repetition may lead to some astronauts getting tired of food that they had previously liked.
  • Psychological changes: The loss of taste may be purely psychological.

Astronauts often choose strong-tasting food such as salsa
Salsa (sauce)
Salsa may refer to any type of sauce. In American English, it usually refers to the spicy, often tomato based, hot sauces typical of Mexican and Central American cuisine, particularly those used as dips. In British English, the word typically refers to salsa cruda, which is common in Mexican ,...

 or shrimp cocktail.

Other physical effects




Other physical discomforts such as back and abdominal pain are commonly experienced with no clear cause. These may be part of the asthenia syndrome reported by cosmonauts living in space over an extended period of time, but seen as anecdotal by astronauts. Fatigue, listlessness, and psychosomatic worries are also part of the syndrome. The data is inconclusive, however the syndrome does appear to exist as a manifestation of all the internal and external stress crews in space must face. The amount and quality of sleep
Sleep
Sleep is a naturally recurring state characterized by reduced or absent consciousness, relatively suspended sensory activity, and inactivity of nearly all voluntary muscles. It is distinguished from quiet wakefulness by a decreased ability to react to stimuli, and is more easily reversible than...

 experienced in space is poor due to highly variable light and dark cycles on flight decks and poor illumination during daytime hours in the space craft. Even the habit of looking out of the window before retiring can send the wrong messages to the brain resulting in poor sleep patterns. These disturbances in circadian rhythm
Circadian rhythm
A circadian rhythm, popularly referred to as body clock, is an endogenously driven , roughly 24-hour cycle in biochemical, physiological, or behavioural processes. Circadian rhythms have been widely observed in plants, animals, fungi and cyanobacteria...

 have profound effects on the neurobehavioural responses of crew and aggravate the psychological stresses they already experience.

Psychological effects


The psychological effects of living in space have not been clearly analyzed but analogies on Earth do exist, such as Arctic
Arctic
The Arctic is a region located at the northern-most part of the Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean and parts of Canada, Russia, Greenland, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. The Arctic region consists of a vast, ice-covered ocean, surrounded by treeless permafrost...

 research stations and submarine
Submarine
A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation below the surface of the water. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability...

s. The enormous stress on the crew, coupled with the body adapting to other environmental changes, can result in anxiety, insomnia and depression. According to current data however astronauts and cosmonauts seem extremely resilient to psychological stresses. Interpersonal issues can have an enormous influence on a human's well-being and yet little research has been undertaken to examine crew selection issues in relation to this. The Mars Arctic Research Station
Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station
The Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station is the first of two simulated Mars habitats established and maintained by the Mars Society.-Background:...

 and Mars Desert Research Station
Mars Desert Research Station
The Mars Desert Research Station is the second of four planned simulated Mars surface exploration habitats owned and operated by the Mars Society.-Background:...

 have examined the influence of different crew selections when living in a completely isolated environment and may provide vital data for future experiences.

Future prospects


At the moment only rigorously tested humans have experienced the conditions of space. If off-world colonization
Space colonization
Space colonization is the concept of permanent human habitation outside of Earth. Although hypothetical at the present time, there are many proposals and speculations about the first space colony...

 someday begins, many types of people will be exposed to these dangers, and the effects on the elderly and on the very young are completely unknown. Factors such as nutritional requirements and physical environments which have not been examined here will become important. Overall, there is little data on the manifold effects of living in space and this makes working to mitigate the risks during a lengthy space habitation difficult. Test beds such as the International Space Station (ISS)
International Space Station
The International Space Station is a habitable, artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. The ISS follows the Salyut, Almaz, Cosmos, Skylab, and Mir space stations, as the 11th space station launched, not including the Genesis I and II prototypes...

 are presently being utilized to research some of these risks.

The environment of space is still largely unknown, and there will likely be hazards of which we are not currently aware. Meanwhile, future technologies such as artificial gravity
Artificial gravity
Artificial gravity is the varying of apparent gravity via artificial means, particularly in space, but also on the Earth...

 and more complex bioregenerative life support system
Life support system
In human spaceflight, a life support system is a group of devices that allow a human being to survive in space.US government space agency NASA,and private spaceflight companies...

s may someday be capable of mitigating some hazards.

See also

  • Overview effect
    Overview effect
    The overview effect is a transcendental, euphoric feeling of universal connection reported by some astronauts during spaceflight, often while viewing the Earth from orbit or from the lunar surface. Third-hand observers of these individuals may also report a noticeable difference in attitude...

  • Space colonization
    Space colonization
    Space colonization is the concept of permanent human habitation outside of Earth. Although hypothetical at the present time, there are many proposals and speculations about the first space colony...

  • Space adaptation syndrome
    Space adaptation syndrome
    Space adaptation syndrome or space sickness is a condition experienced by around half of space travelers during adaptation to weightlessness. It is related to motion sickness, as the vestibular system adapts to weightlessness.- Cause and remedy :...

  • Effects of space on the body

Sources

  1. Nasa Report: Space Travel 'Inherently Hazardous' to Human Health. Leonard David. 2001
  2. Space Physiology and Medicine. Third edition. A. E. Nicogossian, C. L. Huntoon and S. L. Pool. Lea & Febiger, 1993.
  3. L.-F. Zhang. Vascular adaptation to microgravity: What have we learned?. Journal of Applied Physiology. 91(6) (pp 2415–2430), 2001.
  4. G. Carmeliet, Vico. L, Bouillon R. Critical Reviews in Eukaryotic Gene Expression. Vol 11(1-3) (pp 131–144), 2001.
  5. F.A. Cucinotta et al. Space radiation cancer risks and uncertainties for Mars missions. Radiation Research. Vol 156:5 II;pp 682–688, 2001.
  6. F.A. Cucinotta et al. Space radiation and cataracts in astronauts. Radiation Research. Vol 156(5 I) (pp 460–466), 2001.
  7. Styf, Jorma R. MD; Hutchinson, Karen BS; Carlsson, Sven G. PhD, and; Hargens, Alan R. Ph.D. Depression, Mood State, and Back Pain During