It’s not really why he signed up to be an astronaut, but like it or not, Mike Barratt and his eyes have become a science project.
The eye charts he reads, the red drops that turn his eyes yellow and the ultrasounds being performed on him could determine whether he or any other astronaut ever journeys into deep space or sets foot on other worlds.
NASA’s new priority is how to protect astronauts from going blind on the years-long trip to get wherever they are going.
“I absolutely agree that this is our number one priority,” Barratt said.
Because when Barratt blasted off to the international space station, he needed eyeglasses for distance. When he returned to Earth, his distance vision was fine, but he needed reading glasses. That was more than two years ago. And he’s not getting better.
“We really need to understand this. This is a critical point for understanding how humans adapt to spaceflight,” he said.
In the past few years, about half of the astronauts aboard the international space station have developed an increasing pressure inside their heads, an intracranial pressure that reshapes their optic nerve, causing a significant shift in the eyesight of male astronauts. Doctors call it papilledema.
Female space travelers have not been affected.
Some of the astronauts slowly recover. Others have not.
Space station astronauts typically spend about six months in orbit.
Barratt is one of 10 male astronauts, all older than 45, who have not recovered. Barratt returned from a six-month stint aboard the station in October 2009 and has experienced a profound change in his sight.
He used to be nearsighted. But now, the space veteran says he’s eagle-eyed at long distance but needs glasses for reading. There is no treatment and no answers as to why female space flyers are not affected.
CNN spent part of a day with Barratt, watching as doctors monitored his progress with high-resolution testing as they try to understand how the weightless environment of space is causing half of all space station astronauts to have this vision change. Today, space station astronauts fly with specially designed variable focus glasses to help combat the vision shift.
“The big benefit of these is that they allow us to adjust for significant prescription changes,” said Dr. Robert Gibson, a senior vision consultant, who was brought in to help study the problem.
Doctors have found that Barratt’s retinas have microscopic folds or wrinkles on them, and the back of his eye, the optic nerve, is no longer round but has flattened.
“I think this is showing that there are physiologic aspects of adaption to spaceflight we weren’t seeing before,” said Barratt.
This raises a red flag for all of NASA’s plans for long-duration human space flight. The space station is supposed to be the test bed for how humans would learn to live in space, but it opens profound questions on whether humans will ever venture to Mars or to an asteroid if they are unable to figure out how the outer-space environment is affecting the eyes.
“This has all of our attention,” said Terry Taddeo, the acting chief of space medicine at Johnson Space Center in Houston.
“It is a serious problem and one we are going to have to understand more about before we would be able to send somebody into a long-duration mission away from Earth, where they would be away for years,” he said.
Right now, the only data that doctors have are from six-month tours of duty on the space station.
NASA has begun doing extensive preflight and postflight eye exams, including high-resolution MRIs of the eyes. There have been anecdotes from some space shuttle astronauts who also complained about vision change, but it does not appear they had long-lasting effects from the much shorter space flights that typically lasted up to about three weeks.
“What we’re seeing appears to occur within the first couple of months of flight and appears to level off, plateau after about four to five months,” Gibson said.
“If it’s just a matter of giving them a stronger prescription, we can live with that,” he said. “But if there is an elevated intracranial pressure as the cause of this, we have to be concerned about other neurologic effects."
That means there could be other effects on the body that haven’t become apparent.
This is why a three-year mission to Mars is in question.
It would be humans' next great leap, and NASA is spending almost $18 billion over the next five years to develop a heavy lift rocket that would take astronauts to the Red Planet or even to an asteroid. They would travel in a new spacecraft, Orion.
But right now, a trip to Mars is still more science fiction than fact. No one is calling this vision problem a showstopper, yet the program’s price tag begs for a solution to be found fast so NASA won’t be building the world’s largest, fastest rocket to nowhere.
Dr. Bruce Ehni, a neurosurgeon at the VA Medical Center at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, has consulted with NASA and is the only neurosurgeon on their panel.
“If they can’t predict who is at risk ... they put his health in jeopardy. They put, possibly, the mission in jeopardy if he can’t see or do his job effectively,” he said.
But Barratt thinks that any deep space venture to Mars is still 20 years away. He’s hoping that spacecraft will be a whole lot faster than anything the space agency can fly now.
“You fly fast, and you don’t worry,” he said, with a grin.
“I’m still hopeful that in 20 years, we’ll have advanced propulsion capabilities that can get us there in a matter of weeks to a few months. Then, a lot of these problems go away,” he said.
Apparently women have something men need besides backrubs
When are you people going to come up with some new material?
Go make me a rocket ship, boy.
A clean toilet? Clean Laundry?
",,, causing a significant shift in the eyesight of *male* astronauts. Doctors call it papilledema. *Female* space travelers have not been affected." - The answer is staring them right in the old kisser. Guys, can you see yourself riding along with Sally Ride all that time, and NOT getting that biological relief,,, if you catch me drift. Use uglier female astronauts and the problem is corrected.
Seriously, build a centrifugal craft to get that artificial gravity back into their lives. This will be the only way to live out there for any long period of time,,, and your salad garden will need it as well. Someone suggested it would be terrible living on a ferris wheel ride for so long,,, but you will not even notice it when the entire craft is revolving with you. Just when you go out to the end port that is not spinning around to get a good view outside is when you might feel a little woosie.
Or just all-female astronauts. I may be biased, but "lesbians in space" sounds awesome.
Well.... The alien bodies recovered from Roswell had very LARGE eyes. Maybe we will adapt like them. We Americans will discover the truth.
Well the truth IS out there....
It just typically eludes anyone who claims to posess it.
Yes the Aliens have been in space so long that they evolved 'space traits', that have adapted them to zero gravity. Everybody knows this, geesh....
The alien bodies recovered from Roswell were not alien...they were humans disfigured and pickled by the space environment. It doesn't do that to women, well...because their brains being smaller the pressure just doesn't build up and all, otherwise they would all look like Hillary after landing.
Is it just me, or isn't there a significant difference between being on a space station that is in constant free fall and being in a ship that has a constant, directional force? It seems that if this problem is being caused by prolonged exposure to simulated zero-G conditions, that it might be rather easily fixed by ensuring that the force of the ships we send to Mars is sufficient to imitate gravity.
You're in free fall onboard the ship unless you're accelerating, because your motion is constant relative to that of the ship when you're not accelerating (and there is no planetary gravity). We do not presently have the technology to generate 1G of constant acceleration for the duration of a Mars trip (which would simulate Earth gravity if you turned the ship around halfway there for the purpose of slowing down, using 1G of force in the opposite direction to decelerate so that the ship could stop at Mars).
There are not engines to maintain 1 g of acceleration, but you could generate sufficient and constant centifugal force using a space ship with a rotating disk of sufficient diameter, just like at the carnival when you spin in circles and the floor falls out.
You haven't watched 2001, A Space Odyssey, have you? This problem has already been solved.
A heavy-weight disc is not required either. A tethered spacecraft that rotates with a counterbalanced weight would also provide sufficient artificial gravity. Dr. Zubrin offered this solution in his book.
Just mount a small black hole in the ship. :)
The concept of graviational pull, mass needed for it is not something we can immitate/simulate as yet. Rotational simulation is not good either (unless we will have a hundred mule doughnut shaped spaceship rotating)...anyway good luck with your endevours :)
If you are going to use a word like "endeavors" you should spell it right.
@babydoc, the entire world doesn't spell it that way. In fact, the Space Shuttle is called Endeavour after HMS Endeavour. I do however question the necessity of bringing 100 mules into space.
The crew for such a mission would have to include a veterinarian to monitor the eyesight of the mules.
I think the assumption here is that any force applied to the body during a prolonged trip to Mars would be significantly smaller than that experienced on the earth's surface. This is a reasonable assumption.
To clarify: I'm speaking of the journey to Mars.
The answer as to why females are not affected is simple: Women are soulless harpies who got us kicked out of the Garden of Eve.
HaHa! Funny, and I am a woman!!
Man was tossed out of Eden because he disobeyed God and instead of accepting responsibility and asking forgiveness, he blamed God and the Woman He gave him. Sounds like Adam hasn't learned his lesson.
Who touched and ATE the Forbidden Apple FIRST?
A. A woman
End of story moron.
Pretty humorous arguing over fairy tail stories.
Space masturbaitshun. Something the astronauts parents didn't warn them about.
LOL good one..
You were dumb enough to follow though, weren't you?
If he would have stayed in space for the perfect amount of time his vision might have been perfect but he stayed too long ;)
....then why don't we just send women to Mars if they're not affected? They might learn something about men while they're there and bring back that knowledge to the women here. ;)
Will gay men be effected like hedro men?
What are hedro men?
But I thought women were from Venus!
Dr. John Gray would agree
Well if women dont have the problem then just send a full on women crew. With maybe 1 guy or something and see what happens. I don't see what the problem is.
NOT ENOUGH S E X !!
One happy floating blind dude
I volunteer to be that one guy.
Don't you want to see pics first? It could be a living hell...
Obviously women don't get brain pressure because they have smaller brains. Hence, no change of vision. After a male spends time in space or has a couple beers his brain swells and he gets beer goggles and a hadache the next morning.
that's cause women are not from this world
I've been telling my wife that very same thing for 45 years! At least now I know I'm not alone on that theory. Thank you!
So are you saying the secret to a lengthy (and presumably happy) marriage is to keep telling your wife she's out of this world?
Put a plasma around the passenger quarters.
The program to go to Mars will cost USD 18 billion.
The bailout for the Greek govt announced today will cost EUR 176 billion.
It kinda makes Mars look like a bargain, and Greece like a complete waste of money.
18 Billion is a REALLY low figure. It's expected to cost anywhere from 40 to 80 billion depending on how many people we want to send up.
f = ucket, that's still cheap.
The bailout is nothing more than a loan that Greece will have to pay back with interest. The difference now is that this loan comes from the IMF and other governments and not the free market and private investors. I don't see how this is relevant to the Mars programme and if it is, I can't imagine how NASA plans to take back the money that they invested and especially from whom..
If I'm not mistaken, most of NASA's funding comes from all of us who pay taxes.
Yeah, I'm sure cell phones, gps, satellites and they countless inventions made possible by space travel haven't paid for themselves. Small minded. Get your head out of the sand one in awhile. Do you have any idea how much technology came from space travel? How much more if the space program ever becomes what it once was.
Sorry Matt Phillips – space travel is NOT responsible for those advances. Every single one you listed is due to MILITARY research and development. You might want to do a little more research and sound off when you KNOW the facts.
Why hasn't the ACLU protested or demanded a shuttle equipped for the handicapped.
Blind astronauts can avoid this dilemma.
Is it any wonder that physiology that has evolved on earth for billions of years might not take well to the environment of space? Thousands of years will pass and technological developments that we can't even imagine will be discovered before we can even think about space travel. Right now it is a waste of money. To quote a great line, "Send in a droid."
Your comment brings to my attention another "showstopper" to exploration that humans encountered around 500 years ago, that being scurvy. At the time we had no clue why men on long voyages were dying. However, would you suggest that we should have stopped long voyages because of this. In fact it was the long voyages that ended up finding the solution for this bout of malnutrition. It was discovered that vitamin C (I believe) would stop scurvy. Sometimes the problems we face as we explore are quite difficult, but their solutions are found because we press on. If we had stopped exploring the oceans because of scurvy how much longer would it have taken for us to come to where we are today...would you be sitting on your computer spoutig your ignorance. Who knows? But to suggest we pack it up because of an obstacle is pure stupidity.
Awesome response. And yes, it was a Vitamin C deficiency, which prompted the British to stock their ships with limes because they contain plenty of Vitamin C, and don't spoil easily. Hence, that is why British sailors were called "Limeys."
I'm sure we will conquer this issue. Whether it costs $18B, $40B or even $80B, the project to get to Mars is well worth it. It will employ many thousands in high paying, high skill jobs, and will tangentially create many good jobs along the way in suppliers/vendors. And then there is all the scientific progress that will come from finding solutions to new and unique problems. From that progress will come new and better products for use on earth, like Tempurpedic, Velcro and many other innovations did as a result of our Apollo program. An investment in exploration is not only an investment in the furtherance of science, but also in the advancement of our economy.
I'm saving this brilliant response for a lot of innane things people say when we're talking about significant problems to be solved! Love it.
The Indians would have been happier. :)
Just my opinion, most of the people (males) that went up into space have moved past the young adult years. Plus there have been fewer females than males sent into space. Therefore the males may be affected since they have been sent into space with there dying bodies.
Bob, you're absolutely right. It amazes me what specious "science" one encounters in reading CNN articles.
Fortunately I am not effected by this debate. I am nearsighted in one eye and far sighted in the other. No problems.
Are you allowed to smoke on the space station?
Nope. Oxygen is scarce up there. Besides, smoke would affect the instruments.
Seriously, "smoke would affect the instruments" ?? No, smoke screws up the carbon filters and the O2 recyclers. Got nothing to do with the instruments..
Ya have to go outside and sit away from all windows and doors !.............Hey thems the rules !
No, smoking isn't allowed. First, it affects the oxygen. Plant and creature experiments routinely done must have certain controls, as well, including "clean" air. Second, even smoke that has been inhaled and exhaled leaves a film of particles over everything, and some of the instruments within the space station are very precise, needing to be kept almost "clean-room" clean. Think of the layer of dust inside a car windshield – even if you don't smoke inside it.
Women are not affected because they always have their eyes closed to everything.
hehehe – so correct. Send them to Mars
MARS NEEDS WOMEN! ...great movie
Send along some of those "Amazon Women on The Moon" for the ride.
Clearly this is evidence that men should stay home and do dishes, while women go out into the marvels of the new frontier. Hey babe, I know you lost your vision and all but you missed a spot of that glass.
I agree. Space should have an extensive network of sandwich shops before the men arrive.
yeah, and stocked with plenty of beer.
To you and Mr. Zippy...remember that the space suit size you go up with may not be big enough on your return. No one
size fits all suits!
What is so abnormal about needing reading glasses after 40?
And I see having your distance vision spontaneously corrected as a blessing not a problem, I had to get Lasik surgery to correct mine.
Did you also read that there were physical changes too? What if the eyesight goes out in a few years? Or his head explodes due to too much pressure? To you it might seem like a "blessing". To the rest of us, not so much.
Actually as I have gotten older...way past forty my distance vision has improved somewhat and my reading vision has suffered.
That's because your brain is shrinking, negating the increase in pressure. Lucky for you I just started a new business and can help. I will lend you some new-age women astronauts that will squeeze your head for a nominal fee
Forgive me for asking, but isn't 20/20 vision a requirement to become an Astronaut? How could this guy have been going to space when the article clearly says he needed glasses to see at a distance?
Uncorrected 20/20 vision is not required to be an astronaut. Look it up on the NASA web site.
No you don't :).
For Asstronaut Pilot: Distant visual acuity: 20/100 or better uncorrected, correctable to 20/20 each eye. For Mission Specialist: Distance visual acuity: 20/200 or better uncorrected, correctable to 20/20, each eye. For Payload Specialist: All applicants must meet certain physical requirements and must pass NASA space physical examinations with varying standards depending on classification.
20/20 vision was required back in the old days when astronauts were pilots. Today they are older and mostly non-pilots
Aw please. At 45 you go from nearsighted to farsighted? It's called NORMAL!
Did you skim the article and miss the part about increased intercranial pressure and flattened optic nerves?
All the more reason to send up craft designed to spin to simulate gravity.
Yeah! I'm getting sick of all this nasa bs involving zero gravity. Forget about zero gee! Humans can take zero gee for a few days with no problems. The time it will take to travel to or from the moon. But nasa insists on doing this nonsensical research about how we can live in zero gravity for months and years. We can't do it! We already know what it does to us and it's all bad! So forget about it! We evolved to live in a gravity field and that's that! Why is that so hard for seemingly smart people to understand!? They need to concentrate on building space stations, long range spacecraft or space habitats that rotate to produce gravity. The future public that will work and live in space will tolerate nothing less!
the gravity on the IST is 91% of what is on earth
Long term habitats for future populations are designed to spin, the reason we are investigating ways to live in a zero g enviroment is because A. its cheaper and less stress on space craft. B. It only needs to work for a few people aka the astronauts who explore it all first. that's why we are investigating it.
Although the earth's gravity IS 91% on the ISS the craft is actually in free fall due to it's motion around the earth. If it was sitting still relative to the earth it WOULD fall. Google orbital velocity and free fall . . .
I have this thing called Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension, it is VERY similar to what is happening to these guys, the only differenc is that I have NEVER been to space, atleast that I know of. They doctors can't seem to figure out what cause me to have it, or how to get rid of it, all they can do is give me meds for my severe head aches and meds to lower the pressure in my skull. I had a spinal tap once to relieve the pressure that helped alot. So far my vision hasn't been to affected
Hope you get better Annmarie. I had a severe retina detachment five years ago which shattered my dreams of becoming an astronaut. Eye diseases are devastating.
"... I have NEVER been to space, atleast that I know of."
Are you SURE? NEVER?
@no - she could have been an alien abductee. Then she would have no knowledge of being in space.
"...but it opens profound questions on whether humans will ever venture to Mars or to an asteroid if they are unable to figure out how the outer-space environment is affecting the eyes"
Could you add just a touch bit more drama, puhleeze.
Oh no, they'll never understand the problem, and we'll all be grounded from long-term space flight for the rest of time. Geesh. of all the myopic (pun intended) statements you could make. No, humans can't figure sh-t out, and we'll never get anywhere.
Why? great question but not directed at what I ask.
We've wrecked this planet.
Explain to me why other than dominance here on our's
are we spending billions on going out there?
Just send blind astronauts to mars with camera attached to their heads... viola!
Viola, violin, cello...whatever. Or should we stick to English exclamations so we don't use a stringed instrument as a French word? It's like saying, "Chow, baby!" Really.
It's "Hasta la pasta, baby!!"
not how you spell "ciao"
We have a physical body that is very much earth bound, but it is actually our subtle body/mind that directs our physical body and senses. Our desires/consciousness in fact reside in this subtle body/mind that is not bound by the laws of physics as we know and are highly adaptive in nature.
So, instead of wasting money on sending humans out of earth, we should conduct research to achieve the following two goals:
1. Engineer a scalable way to create existence of subtle mind/body independent from our physical body and they may need to be transported to other planets by mechanical means.
2. This subtle mind/body should be able to collaborate with other such subtle minds/bodies to create and live in the bodies that are suitable for other planets.
Wow, what a concept/idea! This would make any/all traveling/going some where/when much more feasible/practical than before/yesterday.
Quit being an ass/jerk to the op.
@WhatWhatWhat You are a parasite/troll with venom/evil coursing through/within its veins
What you seek is passage to the fourth dimension, where time becomes two-dimensional and each essence traverses the alternate possibilities of our Universe as one might traverse a valley. Only in Death, my friend, at the Omega.
That's called astral traveling
I would have thought the biggest problem with eyesight would originate from the strong UV light destroying the retinal and causing cataracts.
There you go thinkin' again. Until we have data from YEARS of exposure, we don't know jack.
I'd take farsighted over nearsighted any day. Take away my glasses and contacts and I couldnt find my way back home.
Take away a farsighted persons glasses and they couldnt... what? Order off the menu?? In the grand scheme of things, I think this guy won out here.
I agree, that would be great. Maybe they will be able to use this data to correct near sightedness. Besides that seems that age might have something to do with it. Maybe limit older guys to 3 months in space.
I think women are not affected by these things because evolution favors them with space-resistant bodies.
This is why aliens all have weird eyes.
Actually, they think women might be protected from some vision problems in space due to estrogen. NASA has funded research studying the protecting effect of estrogen on cataract formation.
What is up with referring to males as "astronauts" and females as "space travelers"?
Why do we drive on the parkway but park on a drive way? Who cares!
Why do we call the bill we owe to a restaurant "the check" when it's really a bill?
Why do 24/7 convenience stores have locks on the doors?
I dunno, maybe to keep guys from calling women astronauts 'astrochicks' or 'spacebabes'? Anyway, the term 'astronaut' is a doomed word anyway. It will be replaced by 'spacefarer'. Or 'space person'. Citizens of Cislunar certainly won't be calling themselves 'astronauts'.
If space causes a man's vision to sharpen at longer distances, a possibility exists for people with bad vision such as those that neither can see near or far to be able to balance out to a vision in which near and far are almost clear.
Right, and it would only cost a hundred million dollars too!
Oh, for Pete's sake! This is just a microgravity problem. Put spin on it, and everything is fine.
Dear god. It's easy. Just have the long distance spaceship tumble end over end. It's also possible to have it spin, or even have two counter-spinning drums.
Our bodies need gravity or a simulation of it.
The active ingredient in marijuana cuts tumor growth in common lung cancer in half and significantly reduces the ability of the cancer to spread, say researchers at Harvard University who tested the chemical in both lab and mouse studies.
The new findings “were against our expectations,” said Donald Tashkin of the University of California at Los Angeles, a pulmonologist who has studied marijuana for 30 years.
“We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer, and that the association would be more positive with heavier use,” he said. “What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect.”
Stop government sanctioned terrorism against medical marijuana patients. For God's sake please stop.
Very nice, good links, who would have guessed it? I guess I don't have to worry about lung cancer.
It's also the best thing for menstrual cramps. Face it, if it improved erectile dysfunction it would have been legal yesterday.
Now that is the truth of the matter. Our bodies were designed for gravity.
Our bodies were designed for cannabis too with an abundant supply of CB1 and CB2 Receptors. Space travel will require Medical Marijuana in edible form for increased blood supply to the eyes.
The female astronaut's menstrual cycle may be their stabilizing factor. Questions: Does the menstrual cycle change, while in outer space?..... Does ovulation continue in space?..... (No-doubt) Has NASA researched conception, in space?...... Are there changes in sperm quality, while in outer space?
To quote Frank Sinatra...
"Fly me to the moon
Let me play among the stars
Let me see what spring is like
On a, Jupiter and Mars
In other words, hold my hand
In other words, baby, kiss me
Fill my heart with song
And let me sing for ever more
You are all I long for
All I worship and adore
In other words, please be true
In other words, I love you
Fill my heart with song
Let me sing for ever more
You are all I long for
All I worship and adore
In other words, please be true
In other words, in other words
I love you."
I read somewhere that lack of gravity does indeed affect a fetus/baby in womb negatively.
Mankind is indebted to astronaughts like Barratt. Let's all hope and pray that he and others suffer no serious health problems.
Pray? Why not do something useful instead?
Really Id like to know what the statistics are on how many women vs men have been to space and then compare the medical issues [Keep age in mind Statistically] Before jumping to conclusions thinking that women are more capeable of going to mars Over men. Come on women this has always been a mans world. In my opinion commenting to this artical, the coincedence with gender, Medical issues, And space arent studied
enough to state any conclusion that women are more safe and should go before men. We need more statistic than one article :)
Maybe Mars is a woman's world....
Have you learned nothing from "Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer"? Some creatures are better suited for certain missions...Go on playing your reindeer games...
Man is a land creature, like most other animals. It's a reality check that we're not the supreme beings.
Most humans understand they are not supreme beings. Does that mean we should simply accept our lot, shove our heads up our tailpipes, and stop trying?
No, but the Earth was not created "simply for nothing." We are not going to find a more suitable home. And if your thinking "well the Earth won't be suitable for too much longer," please re-read my first sentence.
The earth wasn't created at all. It formed on its own. It's completely likely we'll find another planet just as suitable as earth.
@I'm the Best... Logically, that doesn't make sense. No matter what you believe in. Out of all the planets that are in our solar system, only Earth ended up at just the right distance from the sun, spinning at just the right angle...everything down to the tiniest molecule done just right...so that you, me and billions of others could exist. If there is a planet out there in another solar system teeming with life, then it was created too. Sorry, I don't buy the "it was formed on it's own" story. Everything that you see (your computer, clothes, car, house) had an intelligent designer. Why not the Earth?
@well, only on cnn can you get away with that arguement
Venus and mars are actually both in the goldilocks zone as well. If mars could hold an atmosphere it wouldn't be much colder than earth, warm enough to live on with maybe a heavy jacket. The earth even moves thousands of miles closer and further from the sun in its elliptical orbit.
The tilt of the spin really isn't that important as long as everywhere gets light sometimes.
The moon helps keep the inside of the earth from cooling due to tidal effects and even that's not perfect, its slowly getting further and further away.
If the earth was created, there are a few really easy things that the creator messed up. With a slightly different chemical composition, the earth wouldn't experience earth quakes or tidal waves.
The numbers don't need to be nearly as precise as you seem to think
Dont use the word logically if you dont know what it means.
Earth ened up in the golden zone by chance, it's that simple. Sometimes the simplest answer is the right answer, dont over think it and lose prospective. We simply got lucky that the dominate species before us died out and we came to be. Otherwise it could be some lizard asking the same question you're asking.
@Well...this is a scientific discussion, not a bible meeting. We don't care about your mental delusions. If there was "intelligent" design, why is it all designed so stupidly? Eyes that fail and have flaws, cancer, Alzheimer's, birth defects, and a woman's playground right next to the sewage dump. What kind of intelligence is that? Someone didn't know what they were doing, that's for sure. Either that or it just evolved over billions of years, hmmm...
@Well... (and others with similar thoughts)
It's like this (and I've seen this experiment actually done): When you flip a coin for 10 hours, it's very likely you will somewhere during those 10 hours throw heads 15 times in a row. If someone was to walk in at that exact point, it would be an inexplicable miracle to that person. It's not logical and statistically probably to just throw 15 times heads in a row, the chances of that are very small, it must be a miracle!! No, because over those 10 hours it is very logical, and very probably that something like that just 'randomly' happens.
It is the scale of time and space of our universe that makes the unlikely likely. It just looks like a miracle when you look very locally, when you look at the big picture it makes sense statistically.
Actually, the earth wasn't designed with anything done 'just right' for you, me, or any one of the billions of others. Once the earth was created through natural, explicable processes that science can explain, life evolved and adapted to the existing conditions. I can point to the designer of computers, clothes, cars, and houses, but I'm certainly having some difficulty pointing to a designer of the earth. The great part is, testable, predictive scientific principles make a designer/creator unnecessary.
It's amazing to see how many optometrists and astronauts comment on these articles. At least I assume you all are, considering how you are posting as if you know more than they do.
And, even if this weightless problem proves insurmountable, it only means that space exploration will necessitate the creation of an artificial gravity environment before reaching out further than a lunar mission. That or the ships need to get a whole lot faster. ;-)
Yes, it does make for interesting reading.
Folks talking a lot about something they do not know about or understand.
The prolong elevated intracranial pressure would be a show stopper.
Wow........a 53 year old that needs reading glasses.........shocking stuff........could it merely be that gravity not being present, exerting a downward pressure drawing fluids into our lower body causes pressure to be equal throughout the body, thereby increasing crainial pressure and eye pressure? this isnt rocket science people. putting astronauts into a gravity inducing spinning living quarters during the distance travel and they will be fine when they get to mars, they wont have to worry about hte microfractures and bone loss, muscle loss as much. This doesnt take a team of rocket scientists to figure out the problem and solution.........geez.........and so this is news.........?
Wow, your such a smarty. Why doesnt NASA hire you to make all the big decisions?
NASA has under go major budget cuts... they no longer have a "Sarcasm Extraordinaire Public Liaison" position available. Google it.
Ding, Ding, Ding! The question is why women aren't affected. My guess is it's related to the fact that women have higher fat and water content than men and helps keep things distributed properly.
I work with 2 guys that each have way more fat content than 10 of me put together. At least I could fit through the space capsule hatch door.
I'm glad to see such an esteemed intellect of your calibre engaging in the discussion.
Firstly, yes they do understand the mechanism behind the changes in eyesight. It's not uncommon. What is uncommon is that for a few, and all of the male, the changes do not revert upon return to gravity. That is what is being investigated.
As for simulated gravity, putting them inside a big spinning container for a long period of time is not necessarily going to leave them "just fine". Nausea and disorientation from the Coriolis force is debilitating in the short term, and may have long term effects that outweigh the benefits.
The engineering challenges of building a habitat large enough, and strong enough to withstand the centripetal force, not to mention getting such a massive spinning object to move, are fairly daunting. Care to pit your superior intellect against the task?
Still, now that we have a "permanent" space station, simulated gravity needs to be investigated further. We don't even have enough information to know if the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.
This explains why you are unemployed.
"...but he needed reading glasses. That was more than two years ago. And he’s not getting better." Uh, could it be he's just getting older?
But they can predict who is at risk...the men. So the answer is pretty simple, just send women.
I'll take "SEE NO EVIL HEAR NO EVIL" for 800 Alex...
Vision switching from nearsightedness to farsightedness is not a symptom of old age.
Is failure ot read the article before commenting a side effect of getting older, or just of being stupid?
I felt the toll of uranus last night.
In all seriousness, let's look at some factors here that they obviously have left out.
Women may not be affected, because of the relative sample size compared to male astronauts. There may have not been enough female astronauts given tours of duty at the ISS for this issue to determine that women are unaffected by this issue.
Also, has anyone turned around and thought that age may be a factor? Most of the astronauts we send up in space are close to, if not already middle age. Their bodies are already deteriorating without the addition of outside factors. I think we are eventually going to conclude that life experience and training may be trumped by the strength and healthiness that youth brings when it comes to long distance space travel.
I know my father who never was an astronaut was near-sighted since his teens, in his mid-forties gradually didn't need distance glasess but needed reading glasses.
I'm 54, and need both.
It seems unlikely age is a factor, unless these wrinkling and shape changes are a natural part of old age. Otherwise wouldn't we have long since discovered this particular problem? It sounds to me like gravity is the culpable factor here or possibly the increase radiation in orbit. Given affect gravity has on maintaining our muscle mass and bone density, should it be any wonder that zero gravity affects other tissues? We need a new module for the space station, a spinning habitat to simulate earth gravity for testing the idea.
Although they do state that the astronauts that have not recovered are all over 45. May have an issue with the body's loss in elasticity?
He went from nearsighted to farsighted. Also, though technically it could be coincidence and is a relatively small sample size, probably suggests that since half of the male astronauts at the space station all had their vision change and an accompanying intercranial pressure, the cause is related.
ComeBreakMe, yup. Couldn't agree more. I've pointed out the imbalance in sample sizes too.
Of course I have gotten responses from two irate women now who desperately want to believe that this is a ring of female superiority that they can wear.
I am a scientist and approve this study.
That would require an tremendous amount of extra battery power. lol
Im sure your trying to be funny, but the sad truth is that at least with your scenario there would be some economic viablilty to sending humans on that trip as opposed to a robotic exploration craft. Streaming video subscriptions would be a gold mine.
I'm a male nurse and believe me, you don't want a full female crew running anything. Two female nurses can't agree on how to change a bedpan, you want them flying 5 billion dollar ships have at LMAO!
masturbating in space will cause loss in eye sight quicker than masturbating on earth
that is why Viagra gives you vision problems.
Mars Needs Women
& Venus needs Men
I'm sure the lawyers are licking their lips on this one, as they do everything else. Instead of being used to advance science, and to understand that becoming far-sighted is a consequence to doing something that many in this country only dream of, and would gladly endure for the chance to live in space and see our planet from the space station or space shuttle (not anymore), it will be used to hinder science because lawyers are probably already calling astronauts to solicit legal counsel to formulate lawsuits against NASA and the military. P.S. I'm near-sighted with slight astigmatism that is frustrating for distance vision. As long as the anticipated effects don't make me blind, I would gladly volunteer for this experiment if it meant going to the space station!
your skokin the whacky stuff...there ain't a chance in he!! they would ever sue....I bat there isn't one of them that wouldn't do it if they knew the risk...astronauts are not your average person..
Lawyers are almost certainly NOT looking to sue NASA or any one else over this. And if they are, they aren't very good lawyers. To state what should be obvious, space travel is an inherently dangerous activity (there's a roughly 1/50 chance of death with current launch vehicles versus 1/11 Million for regular air travel and 1/8000 for automobiles). By participating, one assumes the risks, both known and unknown.
uhhhhh yeaahhhh ! Sort of a cosmic blow, if you will :-D
Perhaps the reason that no women have been afflicted with this is because no women have been afflicted YET. The number of people who have spent extended amounts of time in weightless environments is small, and the number of women who have is smaller yet. It may bet that this problem *could* affect a female astronaut, but they just haven't seen it yet. Still it will be interesting to see what comes of this.
it doesen't affect women because women are by nature near sighted.
Mr Barratt was also nearsighted before his time on the space station.
They are also hard of hearing... I often feel I have to tell my wife the same thing twenty times and she's doesn't remember.
I think their smaller brains don't swell as much. Men are better at swelling.
yes...much more clearly said than my comment.
I don't see any comment here about the cosmonauts who spent over a year on the Mir station. Have studies been done of their eyes? How about the astronauts who spent time on Skylab back in the 70s? If you want to look for lasting effects, you'll want to study all of those people.
This apparently hasn't been seen before.
More likely is that it's been observed and the Russian's kept that stuff quiet.
The Russians use the same therapy for vision problems as they did for the radiation problems after Chernobyl. They poured lots of vodka on it.
I like how this article is written as the end all be all for deep space travel if this problem can't be fixed when it clearly states that woman have shown no signs of being adversely affected by it. What's the big deal if a group of woman astronauts has to be the first to go to mars while they try to solve the apparent issue for men?
A group of women together in a confined space that long? They would kill each other.
That, or it'll be "The View" from space.
I do think more data with female astronauts is needed. More females on the ISS to study this.
In our PC culture now, someone would start to file claims against NASA for discrimination. This happens now in all aspects of American culture. Noone can be left out or they cry and get millions of dollars. I agree with you, although I would caution saying that this is the only medical condition affecting astronauts. For women astronauts, vision problems may not be an issue, but years down the line something else could happen. Some weird cancer, birth defects, Alzheimer's, or anything else. It might be too early to say that women have nothing to fear and that men only need to fear being made far-sighted.
But it takes really big muscles to be an astronaut, right? Gotta lift and heave all those weightless pencils...do manly thinking like, "Which squishy food am I going to suck out of a plastic envelope today?" Big, big responsible manly decisions.
So we really should send Gingrinch to the moon so not only will he be dumb he could go blind as well
I'm sure it has more to do with zero gravity than anything else and there is gravity on the moon my friend...so try again and stop being a political A$$ not everything has to be about politics despite what you think!
Instead of adapting people to weightlessness, they need to simulate gravity on all long duration space missions. The most basic way to due this is to use centrifugal force - a habitat module that rotates - think of the carnival ride that spins with your back pinned against the outer rim allowing you to defy gravity as it tilts. NASA has produced many plans to do just that in order to simulate gravity (or create artificial gravity) and help alleviate the health issues associated with working, long term, in a weightlessness environment.
"do"... not "due"... damn typos. ;-)
Agreed. This serious medical problem has a fairly simple engineering solution.
that could be true but gravity may not be the cause. you got to think up in space light itself is different than on earth because earths atmosphere warps it a bit and blocks out some things. in space you dont get that luxury. so things will be different.
There are other problems that come with simulated gravity. Still, it's annoying that simulated gravity hasn't been studied in space on any significant scale since the Gemini program.
Creating artificial gravity is relatively easy. You do it by rotating part of the space craft to create centrifugal force equivalent to 1G on earth. This has it's own challenges (Gyroscopic effect when maneuvering, increased weight of the structure, and many others) but it is a simple way to deal with a whole host of problems that zero G creates for the human organism.
Farsighted – means you CAN see far away but NOT close
Nearsighted – means you CAN see near, but NOT far
Yeah, I caught that too
First... "NEARsighted" means you can't see distance. And here on planet Earth (where I'm an optometrist), I see plenty of patients' glasses prescriptions shift over time. Some people have binocular vision or accommodative disorders that make them "falsely" nearsighted to begin with... and then as time goes on, and presbyopia sets in, these patients' prescriptions often shift to LESS myopic in the distance... again, this could be why he no longer needs distance correction. Whatever. This article is annoying me. I won't dispute that space travel probably does some pretty crazy stuff to your eyes and brain... or that papilledema and increased ICP won't screw with your vision... but still... I feel like they're missing a lot of information in this article.
Well am NOT AN OPTOM. but the artical clearly states there are changes to the optic nerve and retina......my guess is the optom. that are involved in this study for "NASA" I am sure forgot more about the eye than you know now......you don't know $h!t....and don't say "you aren't an Opt." bacause i also am not a rock star but that doesen't change the fact that I know KISS is a crappy band.
... well that was incoherent.
"He used to be farsighted – he needed glasses for distance"
CNN at its usual editorial best.
ya i caught that too.....far sighted means you can't see up close.
Yeah, I have never been able to understand why so many people get nearsighted and farsighted confused. Its exactly how it sounds nearsighted = can see clearly near : farsighted = can see clearly far. Why do people always want to think it is the other way around?
Wow, he got older and now needs reading glasses. Let's do a million dollar experiment on that, lol.
Why are you referring to the men as "astronauts" and the women as "space travelers" and "space flyers"? They are all astronauts and have been doing the same jobs from commanding the space shuttle to mission specialists. This terminology undermines the accomplishments of these amazing women.
Right on, Sally! And why, if women aren't affected, isn't the space program considering a full female Astronaut team to do the initial travel? It's like saying we can't, when the obvious answer is that we can.
Oh now come on Sally – women are sent to the space station to clean and cook. You need to start listening to Rick Santorum.
Seriously?! Why do people feel the need to pick words/sentances apart like that? Does it matter that they are called a synonim for the same word? Astronaut, space flyer, space traveler...who cares, it's all the same thing. Stop, just stop.
Obviously the best answer is an all female trip to Mars. Sign me up! ;0)
That was my first thought! I feel a little guilty that this article made me feel giddy that maybe space travel will be restricted to women only in the future. And if we ever get around to colonization, it would be more efficient to just have women go, and carry along frozen sperm/embryos.
Absolutely – sign me up!!
The first trip to Mars will be one way-- so this eyesight stuff will not matter.
We should fit Mars travelers with ROBOT eyes!!
It makes perfect sense that his brain adapted from being near-sighted to far sighted, seeing as he is in space and his eyes are looking at things that are hundreds of thousands to millions of miles away so frequently, rather than primarily seeing things just feet or inches away like you would on earth. This just shows that the brain changed in response to the environment.
Not quite Anonymous. The effects were clearly physiological in nature, and a response to the altered environment (zero G) in which the male astronauts were living. So it was not an adaptation by the brain, but rather a physical change to the eye that caused the vision change. The time spent looking at distant objects versus nearby objects would not be no different in space than it is on earth. Have you ever looked at a distant opbject on earth, or looked at the stars at night? In fact, I would venture that quite the opposite is true. In an enclosed environment, most of their time is probably spent looking at instrumentation, reading, writing, interacting with colleagues, working on computers, and conducting experiments. These are all near focus events.
So you are thinking they spend the days looking out the window rather than working on experiments that are in near proximity? Surely you jest? Most of the space station is not windows. And most of their work is within feet of them as the space station's space is confined.
The author says the astronaut "used to be farsighted – he needed glasses for distance. But now, the space veteran says he’s eagle-eyed at long distance but needs glasses for reading. " The reporter has that confused. The astronaut used to be nearsighted (could see things close just fine but needed glasses for distance vision). He is now farsighted (needs classes to read but can see distance just fine). Let's get the basics down, please.
I wonder if the damage is related to the pressures of taking off and maybe the training required before going it space? For example the training that pilots go through to experience gravitational force?
No. Read the article. It only affects long-term space travel, not short term. The lift-off is the same.
Agreed. It also does not affect them during training as they do that all the time. It is not until they actually travel into space that this occurs.
Only women can go where no man has gone before. Sorry guys
While agree this is a problem, since it does not seem to effect females the solution for the flight to Mars is obvious. Mars needs Women!!! Sorry could not resist.
Good one! Too bad the movie is not as good as your sense of humor.
NASA keeps a lot secret to keep their funding. I talked to an astronaut. The eye issue is one of many. He said he was told that the men from the moon missions came back like 80 year old men. The "isolation trailer" was not for bacteria or disease from the moon, it was to hide the astronauts until they could recover from the moon flights. It is known in NASA that a trip to Mars will kill the astronauts since they will be away from earth too long. There is speculation that all life on earth gets some type of life energy from earth and when you get too far away, your body starts to die like a plant without sun. There will never be moon colonies or other space travel because the astronaugts will not survive. Nasa knows this of course. Now you know the REAL reason they stopped the moon program and did not start it again.
I think the tin foil on your hat has worn out, it's time to replace it. Also have you been taking your meds? Maybe its time to see your doctor about changing the dosage.
... That was no astronaut you spoke to.
If you did speak to an astronaut, he probably would have told you that a lot of those problems are due to lack of gravity. Without it not only do our bones and muscles atrophy, but it affects our circulation as well, often causing pressure builds up in the head or extremities because the capillary system is struggling with trying to disperse it normally throughout our bodies. Of course its also likely that there are also various kinds of atmospheric elements that also have yet to be replicated in spaceship cabin as well.
Whether or not this is true, I think anyone who is subject to zero G for a few weeks (or more) is going to feel like and move like a weak old man for a while when they get back to 1G.
"the men from the moon missions came back like 80 year old men"
I noticed Buzz Aldrin had quite a right hook when question about the moon mission by a skeptic. No cane involved.
Its no wonder that Buzz got booted out of DWTS so soon. Had he not been an astronaut, he could have a chance, what do you guys think?
Yeah, the moon missions really shortened their life spans. 9 of the 12 moonwalkers are still alive. The last moon mission, Apollo 17, was late 1972, almost 40 years ago. Of the three that are deceased, one (Conrad) died as the result of a motorcycle accident, one (Irwin) died from heart related problems, and Alan Shepard died from leukemia. From what I've read, the surviving 9 are in pretty good health for men in their age group, the youngest being 76.
Incidentally, angel611, the astronauts weren't quarantined after Apollo 14. The guys getting out of the helicopter on the aircraft carrier deck from A15, A16, and A17, looked pretty much the way they looked when they left. The "astronaut" you talked to, really had your number.
Oh come on. You got back from Uranus ok didn't you?
Ok did this guy tell you he was an astronaut before or after he asked you to go out to the parking lot with him?
"but it opens up profound questions on whether humans will ever venture to Mars or to an asteroid if they are unable to figure out how the outer space environment is affecting the eyes."
Of course we will figure it out, science rules.
Just a question for the author : why are men "astronauts" in this story, and female members of the space program are "space travellers?"
They are all astronauts.
Because reusing a word too many times makes for poor style in writing, so you search for a synonym.
Come on. Why aren't they focusing on developing artificial gravity. This has to be developed before any kind of deep space mission can take place.
why? Do you even know what creates gravity to begin with? sigh...
Yes, Dave, we do. Gravity is caused by gravitons, a sub-atomic particle.
"Gravity is caused by gravitons, a sub-atomic particle."
Brandon M., this is simply not true. Gravitons are a theoretical particle, and have never been observed. In some theories, they are more of a "place holder" than an actual object that's expected to be discovered. Moreover, since the force of gravity is fundamentally very different from the other fundamental forces (electromagnetism, and strong & weak nuclear), it may not have a carrier or mediator particle at all.
If you want to learn more, I would say the Wikipedia article is a good starting point. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graviton
People say that as though it was so easy. I mean, creating gravity is pretty easy – just need to create a force to hold things down. From an engineering standpoint, this is easy. The hard part is that gravity is a force, meaning every time something moves on the space ship, the ship will have to do work, and thus use up precious energy. Every time your blood moves, your lungs expand, the hot air rises, and the astronauts take steps that means more energy is required. Over a short time period, this energy isn't significant, but over a long journey, that's a huge amount of additional design work. If we can figure out how to safely move people in lower gravity, it will create a more efficient and easier to design space mission.
Has anyone seen 2001: A Space Odyssey? The Discovery One had a wheel that rotated to create the effect of gravity, thus eliminating weightless in certain parts of the ship. It made sense.
It does, to a good extent, but may not be a perfect solution. We already know that high enough RPM's in such a short radius can cause problems in and of themselves. However this begs the question: Why not experiment with larger "wheels", at different speeds? Would say a few hours, possibly during sleep, be beneficial while avoiding the disorientation and nausea? In short:
We've got a frickin' space station, why are we not experimenting with this?
"He used to be farsighted – he needed glasses for distance..."
Oh really? Sounds like CNN should go back to letting the adults write this stuff instead of some stupid intern who doesn't know the difference between nearsighted and farsighted. Golly, perhaps even hire editors to review this stuff. Whatta concept!
I'm not saying this to be critical; I'm just stating a fact. Whenever you ask someone how far away some big thing like a mission to Mars is, almost every time, the answer is "20 years away."
The author needs to do his research before writing the article. Farsighted DOES NOT MEAN you need glasses to see at a distance...it means you have good vision for distant objects; just the opposite of what the author wrote!
I'm surprised there was no discussion of whether this phenomena may be related to the absence of gravity at the ISS. If that is the case, then the solution may be as simple as constructing a spacecraft in orbit that has provisions for providing artificial gravity.
It was clearly stated in the article that this was due to the absence of gravity on long-term space flights.
As for artificial (or rather, simulated) gravity, there are some engineering hurdles to overcome.
However, NASA seems to be uninterested in this. There were some tethered-spin experiments done in the Gemini program, I think some others were done aboard Skylab, but nothing on any scale or involving humans since then.
I don't know why. Does anyone have more information?
Yep– I usually find at least one mistake (either factual or grammatical) in every CNN article I read. The author reversed the definitions of far-sighted and near-sighted.
I guess NASA will have to send only women on long term space flights to address these vision problems!
"Female space travelers have not been affected" – Guess who will be the first to land on Mars.
Exactly. Let's send the ladies. I guess the author of the book "Starship Troopers" had it right. Only women can pilot spacecraft over the long term :)
Dr. Ehni is one fine surgeon. May be the best around.
I wonder how it would affect transgender people, both female to male and male to female? Tests might show if this theroy of a man in a woman's body or a woman in a man's body is relivent at all.
To the author of this article: I enjoy scientific articles like this one, but getting your terminology right is crucial in science: Farsighted means you see distant objects well, that you do not need glasses for distant objects. Thanks for a well-written piece regarding a serious problem (for men) with long-term space flight.
To Rich Phillips
You may want to check your terminology, nearsighted vs farsighted. I think you have it backwards in the article.
For deep space flight changes to the shape of the eye is a minor issue. The main problem is going to be that as soon as a spacecraft leaves the magnetic environment of the Earth it is exposed to massive amounts of radiation that cannot be shielded by any current technology. The astronauts on a year long mission to mars would not survive the radiation sickness. People should stay on the ground and let robots do the exploration.
I also agree. In fact the next Mars Rover (Curiosity), that is currently en-route to the red planet as we "speak", is testing that concept. It has sensors buried deep in the rover that will measure how much radiation makes it through the rover during its cruise to Mars. It's meant to determine whether astronauts have a chance of surviving the trip.
If the test fails, that doesn't mean we'll never go there. What is DOES mean is that we have to re-think the design of the spacecraft (e.g. centrifugal craft with water in outer tanks) and even how to get there (e.g. send advance drone craft to leave supplies on the surface, etc.).
We'll make it there! It just won't be in MY lifetime!
So looks like there will be a womans only training academy for Starfleet Officers. Who'd of thunk it?
It would be interesting to know if artificial gravity in the form of centrifugal force eliminates this problem?
Good thought but to get earth-like gravity you need either a very large cetrifuge or higher (than comfortable to humans) speed. Imagine being in a 6 month long ride in a horizontal ferris wheel!
"He used to be farsighted – he needed glasses for distance" & "he needed eye glasses for distance."
You got this backwards, he was near sighted before, in that he could see near objects but needed glasses to see far off. Farsightedness is greater difficulty seeing near objects than distant objects. Nearsighted is having no problems seeing things up close but you have trouble seeing things that are far away,
So, to sum up, the man was near sighted before space (needed glasses to see far off), and he's far sighted now, because he sees far off fine, but now needs glasses to see up close. I've been near sighted for years, see fine up close but can't see at a distance without glasses.
Rod – get over it. The "Belief page" is and should be a part of the CNN panoply of opinion and topical pages.
With the exception of the obvious error in the definition of "farsightedness", editors please?? The article gave me something to think about that had not occurred to me before. I had been aware of bone density decreases, but this is an obvious, and I'll say – unexpected to me – consequence of long duration stays in micro-gravity. Interesting.
There are, of course, other perils of travel outside of earth's magnetosphere that may be more catastrophic to human life and so ships containing humans for long duration space flight will need to consider: solar wind, radiation exposure and other life threatening hazards.
For those of us who grew up reading and watching SciFi – harsh reality is sometimes too much cold water in the face.
Just get working on creating artificial gravity. DUH!
Most people start needing reading glasses at age 40. The lens becomes less able to change the shape needed to see well up close.
This seems to be "busy" work for NASA.
Have to disagree on that one. Studying this phenomenon is actually very important because if this kind of pressure is building up on the optic nerve and causing physiological changes to the astronaut how much more pressure might build up in the astronaut's brain over a period of years and what kind of changes might it effect or damage might it do. We could end up sending men into space on long-term missions only to have them literally lose their minds half-way there becoming incapable of completing the mission and maybe even endangering their fellow astronauts. Really, not busy work for NASA, but a problem that I think can be overcome with study and advancing technology.
Clearly you did not understand the article.
Remember what mom used to say? "Keep messing with that thing and you'll go blind." How about the theory that no relations with females in space makes a man go blind? Funny that females don't suffer from the same malady.
I wonder if it's zero-G causing this or if it's really low air pressure. If I'm not mistaken, spacecraft are pressurized to only 5 psi, instead of the 15 psi we have at sea level.
And has anyone asked the Russians for input? They've been making long duration flights longer than we have.
They have nearsighted and farsighted backwards in this article. I'm extremely nearsighted. Perhaps a trip to space for a few months would help me!
How about producing artificial gravity? Do this and then you dont need to address the infinite issues with no gravity.
if you're farsighted you dont need glasses to see far away...............if you're nearsighted you need glasses to see far away.....get it right
Im so glad to see that CNN has continued their "Light Years" section. I commend CNN for putting out scientifically themed articles that are I"m sure not as popular as some of the more sensational stuff out there but nevertheless important.
On that note, if CNN wanted to take another step in the right direction they should remove the ridiculous and non-news based section, "Belief". When I read Light Years I'm always astounded that this is the same network that does articles on how whether some kid on you tube is an atheist.
Keep up articles like this. Fantastic.
READERS LET CNN KNOW THAT YOU CAN"T BELIEVE THAT "BELIEF" IS STILL UP!
I suppose they want to reach a broader audience as opposed to reaching people of one belief or another. CNN is a business.
Why can't the spiritual have their own section?
And more importantly, why can't both concepts exist in your mind without dissonance?
What bothers me about the Belief blog is they let people who disavow science write for it. Faith and science can co-exist, but they never seem to choose writers who allow for that. Granted though, it does seem to reflect the broader public view, but it's kind of sad.
Wow, did you ever say a mouthful in your concise reply.
I am constantly mystified by folks who can't see the reality of science and belief, and can't understand how they are intertwined, not mutually exclusive and whether together or separate, are valid. I am especially mystified by evolution science deniers who claim its contrary to how the creation of the earth as described in the Bible came about. Most of these people have no idea of what evolution science is all about, nor what a scientific theory is, but follow without question the misinformation and outright lies of others.
I had a long conversation, many years ago, with a Jesuit priest who described it to me this way. Evolution is the method God used to create the earth, its flora and fauna, and humanity. I think that says it all quite well.
Those concepts are mutually exclusive, if you haven't figured it out by now. 14 billion years compared to 6000, creation vs. evolution, god vs. nature. Where have you been hiding?
It is extremely rare that I agree with the "Belief" articles at CNN, but I often find them interesting and sometimes thought provoking. There's nothing wrong and a lot that's extremely right about having opinion as part of a news organization's output, as long as it's clear it's opinion, and CNN does make that clear. Of course, I must admit that as a travel columnist who writes opinion for part of my living (Not at CNN) I do have a prejudice toward this kind of article being included. I don't think we want just news from our news outlets. Opinion pieces are important as the good ones are thought provoking, getting people's minds working and thinking, perhaps, and hopefully, about the world around them in new ways, and to reexamine prior conclusions which may no longer apply as the world evolves.
Wrong. If you need glasses for distance you are NEAR sighted, not far sighted.
Isn't it obvious?!?! A woman's brain is smaller therefore there is more room in the skull and as a result there is less pressure. However in a few years they will discover that space travel causes heart problems and that will affect women, but not men.
Looks like the first human on Mars will be a woman. Who would have thought.
All space travelers in the future may need to be sterile...you cannot breed through space so it's actually not a bad idea for women and men to split up in space travel...
Correction, it is unknown whether or not it is safe to breed in Space. Recent research and experimentation with worms breeding in Space has yielded encouraging results though.
Folks talking about doing x in space when they should say doing x in a weightless medium. To say a space environment is lacking in G forces is innacurate and actually just dumb. What you should say is that currently engineers do not build space vehicles on a large enough scale to accomodate humans. I would like to use the words space habitats in that last sentence, but this article clearly illustrates that humans have yet to build a habitat in space fit for human occupancy.
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