During the Cold War, President John F. Kennedy made it a mission for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to accomplish a lunar landing and return to Earth. The final lunar landing and the last time humans left Low Earth Orbit (LEO) was in December, 1972. However, 47 years have passed and the fascination with traveling into deep space remains alive and flourishing. A major problem with future human missions to Mars is the effects of microgravity and Mars’ 0.38g environment. Unfortunately, space medicine is limited and little is known about the effects of microgravity on the human body after one year in space. Is it possible for astronauts to survive long spaceflight missions to Mars? To help address this question, my research focuses on the effects of microgravity on astronauts in order to find solutions for long-duration space flights to Mars. Bone and muscle loss are factors that could lead to severe, unknown consequences on an astronaut’s health. My methods included doing an analytical interpretation of historical and contemporary research on long-distance spaceflight. In the future, longer missions are going to require more permanent solutions for humans to be an interplanetary species. The current solutions being used in the International Space Station (ISS) are only to treat individual symptoms separately. Only theoretical permanent solutions were found, such as artificial gravity; therefore, further research is needed. Centripetal acceleration has shown great promise to eliminate microgravity effects but more research is needed to understand the health consequences and the limitations of rotation that humans can sustain.
Esquivel Patricio, Jose Jaime
"Effects and Solutions on the Human Body After Long-Duration Space Flights,"
McNair Research Journal SJSU: Vol. 15
, Article 9.