Space is the most mysterious thing to look at, on a dark night. Space travel would not only be intriguing but also equally fascinating. The many thoughts that come to our mind when we look at the stars above are imaginative, fantasy, wonderful and we always end up asking a lot of questions. Questions for which there are little to no answers.
As we know a little more about space every day through new discoveries, a thought that always eludes us is can we travel to space and beyond. What if we could travel to the moon one day, or visit venus for a weekend? Sounds nice, isn’t it. What if I could take kids to a trip on Mars for a week? This all would be nice, given the latest news of historic Falcon9 success.
Space tourism is an upcoming new idea, that in the past has had a few billionaires trying to jump onto the bandwagon. Up till now, only a handful selected humans every year have been able to go into space travel on a spaceflight. The ones who made it are physically very strong and have passed very demanding tests for final induction into a spaceflight and space mission. Once in space, the human body undergoes several changes according to the environment there, and when back on Earth, some of the changes might be permanent and become health issues for life.
In over 50 years of spaceflight, space travel and space exploration, a lot of health issues pertaining to humans staying in space have surfaced. In space, the human bone density decreases alarmingly at over 1% per month. The body fluids shift upward due to the absence of gravity and bloating happens, plus vision also gets affected. 20% of muscle mass is lost in a little over week’s time. Under low air pressure, the body fluids start to boil, so artificial conditions are maintained at all times in space.
Space travel affects in more ways such as the body’s immune system begins to get weak, and the reproduction of red blood cells also goes down. Additionally, the body may lose a sense of taste and smell. For short durations, the body may feel nausea, vertigo, headaches and lethargy. In space, the body loses its fluids volume including blood up to 22%, which results in improper oxygen supply to the brain causing dizziness. Sleep is mostly underutilized by 2 hours every day, even though about 50% of astronauts take sleeping pills.
At this stage, regular space travel by civilians is still a far away dream that may get realized soon and also may be the dream of interplanetary colonization. Even though we are moving towards that slowly, we need to build better life support systems and find solutions to these complex health issues that humans face during space travel and stay.