Creating an environment were humans can survive outer space has been an endeavor since the 1950’s. A mission in space during the Apollo program lasted a week but for the International Space Station astronauts are in space for about six months. We are still discovering what is takes for humans to endure the affects of space for longer durations.
Scott Kelly (pictured above) was in space for nearly a year (340.4 days) performing various kinds of zero gravity research on board the International Space Station. One of the experiments was to compare physical and mental affects of space for year and compare those effects on his twin brother down on earth. These affects include:
Bone- Bone density decreases, what practices are needed to maintain bone strength?
Sensory motor- The ability of the body to adapt to changes in the sensorimotor between a zero g environment to planetary surfaces. ( fluid in eye time restoration) How do we mitigate these effects?
Muscle- Reduced muscle fiber use. Like bone degradation, the body only uses what it needs.
Cardiovascular- Quantifying cardiac function in a reduced environment compared to a planetary environment. New work out regimes will be needed to keep the body in shape.
Radiation- The ability of the body to take radiation. What is the time limit of humans in space?
Behavioral Health management- What are the optimal conditions for sleep and circadian regulation. What is needed for psychological support of individuals and teams?
Food & Nutrition- Ensuring proper nutrition requirements for spaceflight. What are these requirements?
Medical Care- Spaceflight-associated immune dysregulation in conjunction with radiation creates a health hazard for astronauts. How will we mitigated these issues?
Ask your students about how they would go about answering these various questions of space affects on humans!