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Sat Jul 16, 2016, 02:01 PM

The mysterious syndrome impairing astronauts’ sight

In 2005, astronaut John Phillips took a break from his work on the International Space Station and looked out the window at Earth. He was about halfway through a mission that had begun in April and would end in October.

When he gazed down at the planet, Earth was blurry. He couldn’t focus on it clearly. That was strange — his vision had always been 20/20. He wondered: Was his eyesight getting worse?

“I’m not sure if I reported that to the ground,” he said. “I think I didn’t. I thought it would be something that would just go away, and fix itself when I got to Earth.”

It didn’t go away.

During Phillips’s post-flight physical, NASA found that his vision had gone from 20/20 to 20/100 in six months.

More at link:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/the-mysterious-syndrome-impairing-astronauts-eyesight/2016/07/09/f20fb9a6-41f1-11e6-88d0-6adee48be8bc_story.html


Looks like they're saying it's due to fluid build-up in the skull that would normally be pulled into the extremities by gravity. If we hope to conduct long-term missions, it would seem we need to develop artificial gravity for the ships. Maybe something along the line of centrifugal force?

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Arrow 20 replies Author Time Post
Reply The mysterious syndrome impairing astronauts’ sight (Original post)
Quackers Jul 2016 OP
Warpy Jul 2016 #1
Binkie The Clown Jul 2016 #2
thucythucy Jul 2016 #3
bananas Jul 2016 #7
Binkie The Clown Jul 2016 #8
bananas Jul 2016 #10
Binkie The Clown Jul 2016 #12
GaYellowDawg Jul 2016 #20
Brother Buzz Jul 2016 #4
Stryst Jul 2016 #5
Brother Buzz Jul 2016 #6
SCantiGOP Jul 2016 #11
Quackers Jul 2016 #13
Brother Buzz Jul 2016 #14
Quackers Jul 2016 #15
Brother Buzz Jul 2016 #16
Stryst Jul 2016 #18
Brother Buzz Jul 2016 #19
hunter Jul 2016 #17
jakeXT Jul 2016 #9

Response to Quackers (Original post)

Sat Jul 16, 2016, 02:06 PM

1. No kidding, a lot of body systems depend on gravity

from circulation to renal function to bone integrity and now eyesight. My best guess says that there would be severe neurological impairment after a prolonged mission (like that trip to Mars they're talking about) from the maldistribution of cerebrospinal fluid wiping out central nervous system tissue.

In other words, a lot more studies have to be done and ways to circumvent problems found before anyone is ready to leave this rock.

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Response to Quackers (Original post)

Sat Jul 16, 2016, 02:22 PM

2. The dream of mankind conquering and occupying space is crumbling in the face of reality.

We will never leave this planet in any meaningful or sustained manner. We just need to adjust to that fact.

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Response to Binkie The Clown (Reply #2)

Sat Jul 16, 2016, 03:55 PM

3. Machines will have to do it for us.

The deep space planetary probes have always excited me more than close earth orbit manned flights, Juno being the latest example.

There's no end to what we can do with unmanned vehicles.

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Response to Binkie The Clown (Reply #2)

Sat Jul 16, 2016, 09:00 PM

7. Nonsense.

There are a number of people who've made multiple trips to the ISS with a clean bill of health each time.

This problem only affects some people, and we already have some physiological clues - for example it affects women less than men. So we'll likely find ways of preventing it as we learn more.

Worst case, some people will need contact lenses. It's not going to stop anyway from going.

This is not a show-stopper at all.

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Response to bananas (Reply #7)

Sat Jul 16, 2016, 11:44 PM

8. Maybe not, but...

the inevitable collapse of industrial civilization is. Infinite growth on a finite planet cannot, and will not be sustained. Yet our economic system requires continual growth or it crashes. Since our economy depends on something that cannot be sustained, then it must, inevitably crash. Hard. We will run out of resources, and the economic power to ever exploit space in any more than a token manner.

The only thing that can, and probably will, prevent the economy from self-destructing is if climate change and loss of human habitat kills us off first. Either way, we are not going into space. Man set foot on the moon once, but never will again.

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Response to Binkie The Clown (Reply #8)

Sun Jul 17, 2016, 04:29 PM

10. Every sentence in your post is wrong.

I don't have time to go through it now.

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Response to bananas (Reply #10)

Sun Jul 17, 2016, 07:52 PM

12. Every sentence in your post is wrong.

I don't have time to go through it now.

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Response to Binkie The Clown (Reply #2)

Sun Jul 24, 2016, 12:24 AM

20. Right, because you know the future.

Or, more likely, someone who is a lot brighter than you and not such a pessimist will figure out a solution.

Just wow.

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Response to Quackers (Original post)

Sat Jul 16, 2016, 06:13 PM

4. Centripetal motion

Stanley Kubrick demonstrated how wonderfully it worked for us in 1968. Silly me, I just assumed they incorporated this simple physics law into the space station.

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Response to Brother Buzz (Reply #4)

Sat Jul 16, 2016, 08:22 PM

5. To produce one G

You need a ring with a diameter of around a thousand meters spinning .9 times per minute. Or you can cut the radius to just 300 meters (give or take twenty on either side) and spin that ring two full rotations per minute. Of all the sci-fi, I think that Babyon 5 got it closest, and even then the station doesn't rotate fast enough.

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Response to Stryst (Reply #5)

Sat Jul 16, 2016, 08:38 PM

6. Well, maybe they could just spool it up until they find the level of gravity that suits them

Perhaps blend/puree might be a good starting point.

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Response to Brother Buzz (Reply #6)

Sun Jul 17, 2016, 05:27 PM

11. We'll played, Brother

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Response to Stryst (Reply #5)

Mon Jul 18, 2016, 01:26 PM

13. Is that assuming a 0G environment?

Since gravitational force is created by all things that have mass, then increasing mass should help as well. I'm just not sure what the calculation is to figure out the amount of mass to gravity ratio in a 0G environment at variable rotation speeds inside the craft.

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Response to Quackers (Reply #13)

Mon Jul 18, 2016, 03:13 PM

14. At 24 rpm, the Gravitron produces a centrifugal force equivalent to three times the force of gravity

and that's defeating 1G. Would it be, like, 4G's in a weightless environment, or is their some fuzzy math involved? Notice the dude in the center, he appears to remain in a comfortable 1G environment.

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Response to Brother Buzz (Reply #14)

Mon Jul 18, 2016, 06:07 PM

15. Good question.

It wouldn't be a constant either depending on your distance from the center. One nice thing about such an idea in space is that friction would by minimilized thus it shouldn't require that much power to sustain once started.

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Response to Quackers (Reply #15)

Mon Jul 18, 2016, 06:59 PM

16. Even on earth, a carousel employs a remarkably puny motor

The wimpy electric motor necessitates a slow start but that is rather desirable, if you know what I mean.

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Response to Brother Buzz (Reply #16)

Tue Jul 19, 2016, 09:38 AM

18. Here's a good overview of the subject.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_3170156875&feature=iv&src_vid=GrM3f7Bil5A&v=z6MmJAWjcZs

SciShow "Why don't spaceships have artificial gravity?" 4:10 long, but pretty good.

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Response to Stryst (Reply #18)

Tue Jul 19, 2016, 10:09 AM

19. Well, it looks like NASA needs to recruit Gravitron carny workers....

they appear to be immune to the disorienting effects of artificial gravity. Perhaps future space travelers need to spend a summer with a traveling carnival.

That being said, that was a good video explaining the pitfalls of artificial gravity.

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Response to Brother Buzz (Reply #4)

Tue Jul 19, 2016, 12:23 AM

17. All you need to know about spinning spacecraft...



AUTHOR: RHETT ALLAIN. RHETT ALLAIN SCIENCE DATE OF PUBLICATION: 08.25.15.
08.25.15
TIME OF PUBLICATION: 1:27 PM.
1:27 PM
HOW THAT SPINNING SPACECRAFT FROM THE MARTIAN WOULD WORK

In The Martian movie, astronauts travel to Mars in a large spacecraft called Hermes (also in the novel version). Since the trip to Mars will take a while, the humans need a nice way to stay in shape. Hermes, like many other spacecraft, has a section that spins to make a type of “artificial gravity.” Even though I’ve gone over this several times, let me do a super brief overview of the physics of a spinning spacecraft.

http://www.wired.com/2015/08/spinning-spacecraft-martian-work/


Personally, I'm a robot spacecraft kind of guy even though my grandfather was an Apollo Project engineer.

If humans ever get into space in any big way (which seems increasingly unlikely...) it will be as the guests of our artificial offspring, intelligent robots, or very extreme genetic engineering far beyond our present science.

Mars is a much harsher place than was portrayed in "The Martian."



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Response to Quackers (Original post)

Sun Jul 17, 2016, 11:03 AM

9. just fake it

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