Bad news for the corporations who have begun colonizing Mars. Researchers from The University of Texas Medical School in Houston have been doing some tests on people who have spent extended periods of time in space and their finding are not good. For those who spent more than a month in space there was increased pressure in their skulls. Sound pretty terrible!
Symptoms that are likely to occur as a result of the pressure include inability to or trouble focusing, pituitary gland malfunction, excessive spinal fluid build-up around the eyes, and swelling of the optic nerve. This is some Event Horizon stuff! Not good! This could have serious implications for further space exploration. Thank god for unmanned probes.
Professor Larry Kramer, researcher lead author on the study commented on the MRI finding connected with the abnormalities:
“The MRI findings revealed various combinations of abnormalities following both short and long-term cumulative exposure to microgravity also seen with idiopathic intracranial hypertension.”
According to NASA, this adds to a long list of muscular and skelatol aches and pains many astronauts experience as a result of space exploration. They are taking the research findings into consideration, but have not used them to disqualify any of their explorers from missions yet.
Here’s some Twitter reaction:
@nasa working to find cause, save any hope for #spacedomes http://t.co/iwZ5nuZXStudy: Astronauts’ brains show abnormalities,
http://t.co/rPediYf8 @abcnews #NASA Microgravity-induced intracranial hypertensionStudy finds eye problems common for astronauts
@vbeye: Astronauts with 20/20 vision found they needed glasses for the first time after long spaceflight.
@joyce_johnson: Space flight linked to eye, brain problems http://t.co/DrrBEQMMI’d still do it. RT
Hopefully researchers can learn enough to find ways to combat the problem and relieve the excess pressure caused by the loss of gravity. Swelling of the eyes and brain sounds pretty serious to me. I doubt this will prevent anybody from going to space, but there could be severe complications for spending a lot of time in space.