Astronauts’ Squashed Eyeballs May Be Helped by Sleeping Bag


In area, squashed eyeballs is an actual and current hazard.

The dysfunction, referred to as spaceflight-associated neuro-ocular syndrome (SANS), can adversely have an effect on an astronaut’s imaginative and prescient throughout a prolonged mission equivalent to a six-month keep aboard the Worldwide Area Station (ISS), with greater than half of returning crewmembers exhibiting indicators of the situation to a point.

It’s a difficulty that must be overcome if astronauts are ever to go on multi-year missions to the moon, Mars, and probably past.

The excellent news is that the College of Texas is on the case, with scientists providing an answer within the type of a high-tech sleeping bag.

Eyeball strain

SANS happens when fluid gathers within the head, with the strain inflicting progressive flattening of the eyeball, swelling of the optic nerve, and imaginative and prescient impairment.

On Earth, fluid gathers in our head once we lie right down to sleep, however throughout waking hours gravity pulls that fluid again into our our bodies once we stand, easing any strain inside our head. However microgravity situations aboard the ISS imply that there’s all the time a certain quantity of fluid within the head, as there’s no gravity to tug it down.

The attention dysfunction, which for many astronauts clears up as soon as they return to Earth, prompted a staff on the College of Texas in Dallas to develop a high-tech sleeping bag (beneath) that might show important for long-duration area missions.

UT Southwestern Medical Middle

An answer

Designed in collaboration with outside retail agency REI, the staff included a suction system right into a solid-frame sleeping bag that attaches to the person’s waist. Because the individual sleeps, the system works to attract fluid from his or her head, thereby relieving any probably damaging strain on the eyeballs.

“We don’t understand how unhealthy the consequences could be on an extended flight, like a two-year Mars operation,” stated staff chief Benjamin Levine, professor of inside medication on the College of Texas Southwestern Medical Middle. “It will be a catastrophe if astronauts had such extreme impairments that they couldn’t see what they’re doing and it compromised the mission.”

Further issues

Dr. Levine additionally says that prolonged stays in area might also improve the possibilities of creating an irregular heartbeat, and even impaired cognitive talents — issues that require extra scientific analysis.

“It’s definitely doable there are different results of mind strain we haven’t documented but,” Dr. Levine stated.

He stated that a variety of astronauts report one thing referred to as the “area stupids,” the place they “make extra errors than they assume they need to. Whether or not that has something to do with the shortcoming to decrease the strain, we don’t know.”

Dr. Levine stated his staff’s analysis will hopefully pave the way in which for safer missions to faraway locations.

Commenting on his staff’s present work, he stated: “That is maybe one of the mission-critical medical points that has been found within the final decade for the area program. I’m grateful for the volunteers who’re serving to us perceive, and hopefully, repair the issue.”

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