Space Flight: The Dangers of Weightlessness Essay

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Space Flight: The Dangers of Weightlessness

In the awe-inspiring event of man experiencing interstellar travel many detrimental problems arise. Before 1970, the majority of biomedical studies on space flight were conducted immediately before and after flight. They examined the changes and readaptation processes for astronauts from a weightless to a gravitational environ-ment. After the successful Skylab space station projects from 1973-1974 and the Soviet Salyut missions from 1977-1982, biomedical research and experiments commenced in space. These experiments in space have shown that the physiological aspects can be deadly if not prepared for correctly and adequate medical support is not available. Although problems due to
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The symptoms can be easily detected: nausea, vomiting, headaches due to head and body movement, lethargy (Seedhouse 357), and rarely, paleness or sweating (DeHart 840). The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) developed a scale based on the United States Senator Jake Garn's experience of SAS. Senator Garn, a former astronaut, underwent the most extreme level of space sickness, called Garn thirteen, which is off the Garn scale of one to ten (Shipman, Humans100). This temporary impairment affects crew performance as seen in the Apollo IX mission where the crew's activities were delayed by twenty-four hours. The Skylab 3 flight also had similar problems when work time was lost for the first three days. Soviet Cosmonaut Titov experienced the first recorded instance of space motion sickness where he felt like he was flying upside down, dizzy, nauseated, and ill (DeHart 840).

In trying to determine the cause of this unavoidable situation, medical researchers Dietlein and Johnson developed the "sensory conflict hypothesis." Their hypothesis explained that the usual sensory inputs in the central nervous system were not at equilibrium in the weightless environment (840) and without visual points of reference in space (Gagarin 133), resulted in abnormal reflexes and sensations. After a period of several days "new sensory thresholds

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