NASA wants to send humans to Mars, according to foreign media. Many of the technologies that made this mission a reality are in place, and other important systems can be developed in time for a manned trip to Mars in the 1930s, but the process will be lengthy because there is still a very important question that remains unanswered – how will the human body respond?
Scientists have been studying the effects of space travel on the human body for some time. What is known is that the short-term effects of weightlessness are small, but long-term changes have not yet been fully understood. Now, a new study suggests that people have a lot to learn and learn, and that spending a lot of time in space can have a strange effect on blood flow.
The latest paper, published in JAMA, looked at changes in blood circulation by 11 space travelers who had lived on the International Space Station (ISS). As a result, the researchers found that blood flow was completely normal when they left Earth, but on the 50th day they went into space, dramatic changes had begun.
Among them, changes in blood circulation through the head and brain have caused some deep concern. Among the seven space travelers, blood flowing from the head to other parts of the body showed signs of stagnation and, in some cases, even reversed.
We know that on Earth, gravity helps blood drain from the head, while ensuring the steady flow of blood. In space, however, this help is non-existent, and slow or stagnant blood can lead to clotting. In fact, two astronauts were found to have blood clots or partial thrombosis in their veins in their left neck. It is very dangerous when blood clots appear in the body, and if blood clots form and then enter the lungs, they can cause pulmonary embolism, a potentially fatal disease that requires immediate treatment.
Studies show that people on Earth are upright about two-thirds of the time every day, and the remaining one-third are lying on their backs. In ISS, because astronauts live under weightlessness, their body fluids are continuously redistributed to the head without being affected by changes in hydrostatic pressure caused by daily posture.
This is already a potentially serious problem for travelers to ISS, and it is clear that traveltoing to Mars would be a more dangerous proposition. Even at the most optimistic schedule, astronauts to Mars will have to spend more than 400 days in space and nine months of gravity-free floating at both ends of the journey.
While artificial gravity systems can provide a solution, the technology is still in its infancy. That may change in the future, but it’s clear that a solution is needed before considering a manned trip to Mars.