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Short space flights may not have much impact on health

The first all-civilian space mission sheds light on potential health risks to private astronauts. As a result, short space flights do not seem to constitute any significant events. The study sample was small; Four people spent three days in low Earth orbit (LEO) during the Inspiration4 2021 mission.

But it lays the foundation for an open biomedical database on the health of commercial astronauts and establishes best practices for collecting and processing that information, according to a team led by Baylor College’s Center for Space Medicine in Houston.

Study co-author Dr. “Civilian participants have different training and medical conditions compared to long-duration spaceflight astronauts,” said Emmanuel Urquieta.

“As we continue to send more dedicated astronauts into space, it is critical to understand their physiological and psychological responses to spaceflight and their ability to conduct research.”

Like astronauts who spent months aboard the International Space Station, the dangers these four faced included radiation exposure, prolonged microgravity, containment, and isolation. The mission provides important information about the body’s earliest response to these stressors, researchers say.

Some findings:

  • Two out of four citizen cosmonauts had motion sickness.
  • The effects of spaceflight on cardiac and mental performance varied from person to person but were modest in all cases.
  • Changes in immunity to viruses are consistent with results from other space missions.
  • Biological analysis of different body systems revealed “a wide variety of molecular changes.”

In short, the mission demonstrated that private astronauts could conduct important scientific research in orbit with minimal risk. But he also highlighted the need to develop tools to monitor their health and performance in future missions.

“The data and biosamples represent the first of many commercial space missions to come,” said co-author Jimmy Wu, deputy director of TRISH.

The findings are based on data and biological samples collected before, during and after the mission and demonstrate the effectiveness of various information collection tools that require little or no training.

For example, astronauts used a handheld ultrasound device to obtain images of the bladder, carotid artery, and eyes. Data obtained from smart watches, skin swabs and biopsies, saliva tests, memory and thinking skills tests, as well as sensory and nervous systems were also evaluated.

“Frequent space travel is on the horizon, and more and more commercial spaceflight participants are eager to move forward,” said co-author Dorit Donoviel, managing director of TRISH. “We must properly plan and ensure that scientific research in space is carried out as accurately and safely as possible for everyone.” The findings were published June 11 in the journal. Nature.

Source: Port Altele



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