The Accomplishment Of Space Travel

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The accomplishment of space travel on 12 April 1961 marked the dawn of a new space era. Since then, humans have advanced in technology and knowledge through space exploration. However, although we watch video clips of astronauts enjoying a gravity-free environment, there are challenges in space, the greatest threat being the lack of oxygen and pressure. Furthermore, spaceflight has a significant impact on the human body as extreme variations in temperature and intense radiation from sunlight increase the chance of cancer. Significant adverse effects of long-term weightlessness are muscle atrophy (degeneration of cells) and deterioration of the skeleton (Kanas and Manzey 15). Weightlessness is also known to “cause the ‘moon-face’ appearance…show more content…
Human physiology is adapted to living in the Earth’s atmosphere and a certain amount of oxygen to breathe. The primary challenge faced by astronauts is the lack of oxygen and pressure in space. The minimum partial pressure of oxygen that can be tolerated is 16 kPa (atmospheric pressure is 100 kPa), below which the astronaut is in danger of dying from hypoxia, a medical condition in which the body or a region of the body is deprived of adequate oxygen supply (Harding 27). In the vacuum of space, gas exchange in the lungs continues as normal but results in the removal of all gases from the bloodstream. Furthermore, blood and other body fluids boil at the pressure below 6.3 kPa, resulting in the formation of gas bubbles in body fluids, a condition called ebullism (29). However, most spacesuits provide sufficient oxygen pressure to sustain full consciousness. Another crisis that astronauts face in space is the rapid compression (sudden drop in pressure of a sealed system). The risk of fatal rupture of the delicate alveoli of the lungs is low, however, rupture of eardrums and sinuses; shock caused accelerated oxygen consumption lead to barotrauma and hypoxia (29).
Astronauts without the protection of Earth’s atmosphere and magnetosphere are exposed to high levels of radiation. High levels of radiation damage lymphocytes (cells involved in maintaining the immune system), causing lowered immunity in the astronauts. Radiation from cosmic rays significantly increases chances of
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