When People Go Up Into Space, Many Will Immediately Get Space Sickness. This Essay Will Reveal Some Of The Symptoms And The Measures That Can Be Taken To Control It.

1009 words - 4 pages

"The first night in space when I was drifting off to sleep," recalled one Apollo astronaut, "I suddenly realized that I had lost track of ... my arms and legs. For all mymind could tell, my limbs were not there. However, with a conscious command for an arm or leg to move, it instantly reappeared -- only to disappear again when Irelaxed."Another astronaut from the Gemini program reported waking in the dark during a mission and seeing a disembodied glow-in-the-dark watch floating in front of him.Where had it come from? He realized moments later that the watch was around his own wrist. Another astronaut reported a strange experience when he woke upone day in orbit. As he opened his eyes the room was rotating around him!In space the vestibular system doesn't sense the familiar pull of gravity. The world can suddenly seem topsy-turvy. Consider, for example, "up" and "down." OnEarth we always know which way is up because gravity tell us. Sensors in the inner ear, which are part of the body's vestibular system, can feel the pull of gravity.They signal the brain with information about our body's orientation. These sorts of mismatches between what the eyes see and what the body feels can trigger amalady called "space sickness." Scientists think it's much like "car sickness," which you can get right here on Earth by trying to read in a moving car. The inner eardetects the motion of the car but the eyes -- staring at a page filled with unmoving words -- do not.Cyclic nausea and vomiting are characteristic. They may be preceded by yawning, hyperventilation, salivation, pallor, profuse cold sweating, and somnolence.Aerophagia, dizziness, headache, general discomfort, and fatigue may also occur. Once nausea and vomiting develop, the patient is weak and unable to concentrate.With prolonged exposure to motion, the patient may adapt and gradually return to well-being. However, symptoms may recur if motion increases or recurs after ashort respite. Prolonged motion sickness with vomiting may lead to arterial hypotension, dehydration, inanition, and depression. Motion sickness can be a seriouscomplication in patients with other illnesses. Space adaptation syndrome is a type of motion sickness. Most astronauts experience this effect of space flight. After aday or so in orbit most astronauts get over these symptoms and are able to work effectively for the rest of the mission. This is also the subject of the book"Anecdotal Information on Space Adaptation Syndrome" by Harrison H. Schmitt and Donna Jane Reid.Of course, it's not always so bad -- otherwise no one would want to become an astronaut! Nevertheless, first-time space travelers can be surprised by some veryunearthly sensations that can confuse and amuse the astronauts who feel them. Before blasting off for space, astronauts try to acclimate their bodies to space byriding the "vomit comet" -- a KC-135 airplane that flies parabolic arcs to create short periods of weightlessness.When people go up into space, many...

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