Future long-duration missions will be conduct with knowledge obtain from the LEO missions and the lunar landings of 50 years ago. Scientific knowledge from life sciences research and aerospace medicine practice provides a wealth of knowledge; on physiological and psychological issues in outer space to practitioners,crew members and mission designer’s today. Selection of appropriate individuals and matching them into highly productive crews have result in successful missions. Living and working in space requires life support systems to maintain health and human performance. Medical systems onboard, to support the crew’s medical needs from basic first aid and ambulatory; care to emergent care, must exist.
Challenges of Human Space Flight
The crew members aboard a spacecraft destine for a great distance from the Earth will experience acceleration; radiation, as well as physiological, and psychological impacts owing to confinement; remoteness, and isolation. But the crew members will leave not only the physical environment of Earth but also work, family; social and interpersonal environments, networks, and resources in which they live, while on Earth. As the Earth recedes, so will all the physical, professional; and personal resources on which the crew members grew and train.
As the Earth recedes further and further; the Earth will only be seen as another small dot in the blackness of space. However to ameliorate these challenges, life scientists and aerospace medicine specialists are developing specific onboard systems. These will address inflight medical and environmental monitoring. Countermeasures to meet the physiological and psychological impact on cardiovascular; musculoskeletal, neurosensory, and other human systems will be integrate. Research over the last several decades has provided considerable data; leading to design and evaluation of appropriate systems to meet specific needs of various programs and mission profiles.
As indicated earlier, crews on the ISS and previous human spaceflight missions have been link to the ground through a network that permits telemedicine commmnication to be established. This capability in LEO is synchronous (near real-time) as the bandwidth is available; and the distance for data to travel is unlike that seen in deep space travel. However, this permits interaction of the crew members and ground personnel to address health concerns.
Psychological Issues in Crew members
Spaceflight affects human systems in many ways. The neurovestibular system is the first system that is affect when an individual reaches orbit. Almost all are affect by space motion sickness (SMS) in the first few days. However, the condition, characterize by vertigo, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, and disorientation can be mild, moderate, or severe. Musculoskeletal, neurovestibular, ocular, and cardiovascular changes can affect crew health. Aside from private medical records, methodical evaluation of the crew members from a mental health perspective has not been conduct. Personal medical records are protected. However, the following are document events that have occurr on the Mir Space Station.
In 1997, with the American and Russian crew on board Mir, a solid fuel oxygen generator ignite; starting a fire in the Kvnat module of Mir. This event occurr during the six-member crew dinner. The crew respond by donning protective gear and extinguishing the fire. Communications with mission controllers in Russia were not synchronous and were deem to be poor. This event had an immediate and post event impact on the crew. In July 1990, two Russian cosmonauts complete their assign external repairs on Mir. They could not close the airlock door; forcing them to re-enter the space station at a different entry point. This event caused physical and mental exhaustion as the spacewalk took 2 h more than originally schedule.
These illustrations demonstrate how even a well-train crew can be push to their limits. But they become physically and mentally exhaust. Each event could have result in a catastrophic failure. The immediate response and post-event analysis have serve as useful scenarios in the subsequent system design and crew training. Asthenia can make the individual hypersensitive, irritable, and hypoactive.