Space Physiology Love of Extremes Space Physiology Research Paper

  • Length: 15 pages
  • Sources: 35
  • Subject: Astronomy
  • Type: Research Paper
  • Paper: #49424187

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Space Physiology

Love Of Extremes: Space Physiology

About the effect of gravity on the human being in space

Early milestones in space exploration and space physiology


The effects of microgravity on human physiology

Physiological changes during a space flight

The effects of microgravity on the human body

The Vestibular System

Orientation in space

Space Adaptation Syndrome (SAS) and Space Motion Sickness (SMS)

The effects of radiations on astronauts in space

DNA damage mechanisms by radiations

The biological effects of radiations

Acute effects of ionizing radiations on health

The effects on the immunologic and hematological system

The late effects of radiations on human health

Cardiopulmonary System (CVS)

Heart, circulation and body fluids


The effects of microgravity on bone physiology

The structure and function of muscles

Effects on the muscles

The effects of microgravity on the immune and hematopoietic systems

Effects of microgravity on the nervous system

In-flight acclimatization with time

Foremost animals initially sent to space

Fruit flies





The Russian tortoise




Water Bears

The first man to enter space

Yuri Gagarin's career

When scientists thought of exploring space

The Felix jump




The human body undergoes considerable changes that are sometimes usually harmless while exposed to an environment without the aspect of gravity. Without consideration of the gravity, there is no longer the pressure to keep the fluids of the body on the specified normal course. The fluid travelling up to the head and the chest causes the face to puff up finally with the organs enlarged, the veins located in the neck bulges out. This is because of the accumulation of an extra fluid. The foremost problem affecting the humans since beginning to carry out expeditions into the outer space connects to the respective physiological effects that the environment lacking gravity poses to the body (Stellman & International Labour Office, 2008).

The realization that the lack of gravity results to physical changes to the respective human body comes following the step NASA took sending astronauts into the orbit for a shorter period. Upon returning to the ground, the experience disorientation with the inability to walk hence resulting to research on what actually happens to the general body of human. Following the prolonged space flights, scientists have managed to discover the changes in the human body. One of the principal findings is that the body becoming enlarged with the bones deteriorating within the body. The body muscles begin to atrophy with extreme circumstances because of lack of use (Stellman & International Labour Office, 2008).

The astronauts spend more time in the environments having no gravity enabling for more studies in relation to the problems arising in the course of the long-term space travel (Stellman & International Labour Office, 2008). The majority of the space machines constitutes of elastic straps anchored at one of the ends and then to the specified astronaut. The aspect of the astronaut stretching it out keeps the bones and muscles from deteriorating as opposed to its normal standards (Stellman & International Labour Office, 2008).

Prior to human beings setting out into space, some animals preceded in spaceships as surrogates to enhance the understanding if really a living being could endure and survive an expedition beyond the protective environment of the Earth. The foremost spaceflight carrying live creatures successfully departed from the Earth in September 1951, when the U.S.S.R. sent a sounding spaceship carrying a monkey together with eleven mice within the rocket's nose cone. This though was not a flight round the orbit, but rather, a simple up-and-down flight within the rocket, and amazingly, the animals were able to withstand the expedition. Before then, unsuccessful attempts to fly animals had been, initiated since 1948. The attempts were, purposely meant to analyze the implications of contact with the radiations of the sun at such a high altitude, as well as determining the impacts of weightlessness on the various physiological systems (National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2008).

About the effect of gravity on the human being in space

Fluid accumulation in the body when in space poses a threat to the functional system of the human body. The spinal discs begin to encounter enlargement from gravity albescence. This causes the respective person to experience growth of about two inches. Another relative problem that occurs is the sudden impairment of the direction sense. The human body entirely depends on the fluid situated in the inner ear for the determination of balance and direction. Without the aspect of gravity, the fluid no longer stays at the inner era bottom causing the body to be mildly disoriented (Stellman & International Labour Office, 2008).

The space environment without gravity can also result to psychological changes accompanying the respective physical changes. The body is likely to suffer from the aspect of insomnia with severe depression with irritation with the other respective people. All the relative symptoms that the body is likely to undergo usually alleviate having no lingering effects following the reintroduction of the body to gravity (Stellman & International Labour Office, 2008).

The other relative changes that the body undergoes in space as opposed to the environment of the earth can be potentially harmful. Without the aspect of gravity, significant muscles use is no longer significant. The muscles atrophy at a higher rate incredibly. Following the return from the outer space flights in reflection to the length of a period of one month, the muscles usually have no mass to function as before (National Research Council (U.S.), 2012). This depicts on the fact that the body sometimes no longer have the ability to handle other seemingly effortless specified actions. The set rehabilitation time for the situation in some cases extends to more than two years.

The other related potential harmful change the respective body undergoes are the aspect of extreme osteoporosis. In space, the respective human body loses the bone mass in one to two percent each month. That amount corresponds to the average of what postmenopausal women lose every year. The amount of the bone loss can result to severe osteoporosis in the body of the astronaut. The respective skeletal system of the specified astronauts exposed to the outer space atmosphere would be susceptible to breakage and stress fractures on the ground and space respectively (National Research Council (U.S.), 2012).

Early milestones in space exploration and space physiology

The advent of orbital flight eventually started in 1957 during which the former USSR launched Sputnik 1 rocket to space. Important to note is the fact that Sputnik 1 was not a manned space flight. However, during the same year, in November 1957, Sputnik 2 was, sent into space with the foremost living thing to enter the orbit; the dog bore the name Laika. They carried her in a compartment within the satellite that was pressurized. Unfortunately, she died in a span of few days. Thereafter Sputnik 2 once again entered space in April 1958. While the animals went into space, scientific instruments were useful in monitoring different physiological changes as these animals became, subjected to the strain of the launch of the spaceflight, reentry, as well as the weightlessness surroundings. As scientists continued to gather more knowledge with the spaceflights, animals sent to space could thereafter return to the Earth in a sound state of health, refuting the then predictions that alleged the failure to function of some crucial organs upon exposure to microgravity (Sunny, 2008).

This valuable experience with the help of animals opened up the leeway for expeditions by human beings. In April 1961, a Soviet cosmonaut named Yuri Gagarin took the credit for being the first man to enter space. He used Vostok 1 to go 24,800 miles round the Earth thus experiencing weightlessness for approximately 89 minutes. After orbiting once, he entered back to the earth's atmosphere and secured a safe landing. In May 1961, Alan B. Shepard, Jr., entered space in Freedom 7 Mercury spaceship for approximately 15 minutes of a suborbital flight but was, removed from water approximately 300 miles downrange (National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2006).

Following the astronauts' safe return, medical scientists refuted most concerns centered on the human space explorer's frailty. Nonetheless, the Mercury spaceflights clarified the fact that the human body underwent significant modifications during as well as following a space flight, including measurable loss of weight as well as redistribution of body fluids. Astronauts embarked on completing more intricate, in-flight medical evaluations during the subsequent Gemini missions that acted as precursors to the missions to the moon. All the scientific studies, conducted up to then became vital in the preparation of the space suits as well as the additional equipment essential to ensure survival during the initial space walk that took place in June 1965 during the Gemini 4 mission by the United States. Additionally, doctors noted other physiological alterations like significant loss in the density of the bone as well as the muscles, but confirmed no significant health challenges that would otherwise hinder humans from exploring the moon…

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