Thanks to NASA and emerging commercial space flight companies, there will likely be more astronauts in the future, and they’ll be traveling farther and more frequently into space. Space travel has known risks for bones, eyesight and other bodily systems, but a new study is the first to show that space travel could lead to Alzheimer’s disease l
ater in life.
Outside the protection of the Earth’s magnetic field, astronauts are exposed to cosmic radiation. These high-mass, highly-charged particles can penetrate solid objects—spaceships, astronauts and brains included.
Doctors have taken a first stab at outlining medical advice for a type of travel that will likely become much more common in the years ahead: ordinary people taking trips to space.
The advice, published last week in the British Medical Journal, focuses on those individuals with pre-existing conditions who might want to travel to space. Conditions addressed range from the minor—motion sickness, insomnia—to chronic conditions like heart disease and osteoporosis. For motion sickness, for instance, pack a lot of Dramamine. Cardiovascular problems can be staved off with an exercise regimen in advance, and deep vein thrombosis may require a round of preventative drugs. Infections, cancer and pregnancy, the authors suggest, may be cause for a no-fly n0te from your doctor. Read More
What’s the News: Virgin Galactic’s plans for taking tourists into space have inched closer to fulfillment: earlier this month, the company’s SpaceShipTwo successfully demonstrated the technique, called “feathering,” that will allow the ship to reenter Earth’s atmosphere. In this video, you can watch the ship, designed to behave like a badminton shuttlecock, tip and roll as the pilot flips the craft’s tail to a 65 degree angle, which will brake SpaceShipTwo while it’s still high in the atmosphere. This means the ship will descend slowly enough to keep from igniting as it reenters.