Spaceflight Harmful to Astronauts; New Exercise Techniques Examined
April 10, 2009 8:12 AM
comment(s) - last by
Normal muscle fibers in the top picture, and muscle fibers from an astronaut who spent time in space in the second picture
NASA and university researchers look for new ways to keep astronauts healthy in space
A study recently published in The Journal of Applied Physiology indicates astronauts launched into orbit must alter their physical workout regime so they can reduce the amount of muscle loss while in space.
Astronauts normally stay aboard the
International Space Station (ISS)
for six-month durations, and NASA continues to look for ways astronauts can maintain their cardiovascular system, along with bone and skeletal muscles.
Despite exercise while in space, astronauts still lost 15 percent of their muscle mass and around 20 to 30 percent of muscle performance loss after long durations in space, according to research done by NASA, HPL, and the Marquette University bioscience department.
"By clinical standards,
this is a massive loss
," Ball State University Human Performance Laboratory (HPL) director Scott Trappe recently said. "This approaches what we see in aging populations in comparisons of a 20-year-old versus an 80-year-old. This poses risks to the crewmembers and could have a dramatic impact on locomotion and overall health, which would impact a variety of crewmembers' activities including future goals of planetary exploration."
Researchers gathered information about astronauts' muscle characteristics by using MRIs and muscle biopsies both before and after long duration stays in space. Previous research indicates astronauts also have issues with the density and strength of their bones after returning to Earth from the ISS.
Even though working in zero gravity for such long durations is detrimental to the human body, researchers are coming up with methods to help astronauts.
"From our bed rest studies, we found that when high-intensity resistance and aerobic exercise are balanced correctly, this is an effective prescription that is quite therapeutic in protecting skeletal muscles in a simulated microgravity environment. The next step is to apply what we have learned from the ISS experience and implement the next generation of exercise prescription programs into the space environment. Intensity wins, hands down."
Each astronaut stationed to the ISS now can make use of the Advanced Resistance Exercise Device (ARED), with doctors creating custom workout plans depending on the astronaut.
Since these are serious medical issues, expect more research to be done involving
long-term space deployments
, and how NASA and other space agencies can better prepare astronauts. Several prominent space programs have plans to send astronauts to the moon and eventually to Mars, which will again put a strong focus on astronaut health while in space.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: If spinning can produce artifical gravity..
4/10/2009 11:45:30 PM
The Stanley Kubrick movie "2001 - A Space Odyssey" had something like that, in Earth orbit. That space station wasn't portrayed as being so big; maybe several hundred feet in diameter, as I recall...
"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
Stephen Colbert Wants "Democracy in Orbit"
April 8, 2009, 8:46 AM
British Breakthrough Makes Manned Mars Mission Safer
November 5, 2008, 7:02 AM
NASA Considering SpaceX "Red Dragon" for Returning Mars Samples to Earth
March 10, 2014, 2:43 PM
Court Rules that FAA Cannot Ban Commercial Drones, Dismisses $10,000 Fine for Drone User
March 7, 2014, 1:14 PM
Lt. Gen. Davis Says Next Gen USAF Bomber Will "Of Course" Surpass $550M/Unit
March 6, 2014, 9:45 AM
USAF Moves Forward With Long Range Bomber Program Despite Budget Crunch
March 4, 2014, 9:44 AM
Drone Ships May Replace Manned Standard Cargo Ships in the Future
February 27, 2014, 7:48 AM
Military Officer in Charge of Lockheed F-35 Program: We Won't Pay for "Mistake after Mistake"
February 19, 2014, 11:07 AM
Most Popular Articles
Bitcoin King Pt. II: Mt. Gox's Dictator Karpelès Proves Tragically Flawed
March 7, 2014, 1:12 PM
Windows 8.1 Update 1 Leaked Early
March 7, 2014, 9:30 AM
Hack Reveals Fallen Bitcoin CEO's Posh Tokyo Penthouse
March 10, 2014, 4:28 PM
Vine Users No Longer Allowed to Post Pornographic Videos
March 7, 2014, 1:47 PM
Staples Closing 225 Stores Across North America
March 7, 2014, 1:24 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Tesla vs. BMW: Who Has the Safer EV?
Feb 1, 2014, 2:56 PM
Justice Leaks Details of Next HTC One Two Flagship Phone
Dec 5, 2013, 4:04 PM
Global Cyber Espionage Concerns Reveal Growing Cyber Armies
Nov 29, 2013, 11:04 AM
Is The Period Becoming an Expression of Anger?
Nov 26, 2013, 2:02 PM
NSA and Congress -- You Will Never Kill the Constitution, It's an Idea
Nov 10, 2013, 2:00 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information