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Space Flight: The Dangers of Weightlessness

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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 weightlessness and lack of exercise have been thoroughly researched and new machines and procedures have been developed to overcome these difficulties, there is still the opportunity to further understand weightlessness.

The majority of difficulties that arise can be traced back to the zero gravity environment in which humans experience physiological changes which can be detrimental to their health. When humans enter weightless space they become dis-oriented due to the neurovestibular interactions, those that are processed in the brain cavity (DeHart 840). These cause side effects, such as space motion sickness or Space Adaptation Syndrome (SAS) (Shipman, Humans 99). As astronauts enter zero gravity they experience a nauseous sensation which returns with fast actions or movement from a small to a large space in the space vehicle. Those who are more susceptible to this illusory sensation develop space motion sickness and have personalities that are introversive, neurotic, or fearful (DeHart 840-841). Thi...

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