A recent study has revealed a number of ways in which being in outer space causes serious harm to the human body. A multidisciplinary team of scientists led by medical experts at Baylor University in Houston has classified these effects.
One of the most important questions that has not received an answer from science before is the problem of cosmic dust (including on the surface of the Moon and planets), which can get into the lungs of astronauts.
NASA notes that “Given the unique properties of the dust of lunar and other celestial bodies, there is a possibility that exposure could lead to serious health effects (for example, respiratory, cardiopulmonary, ocular, or skin damage) or affect crew performance during flights. “.
Since the health effects of space dust exposure seem to be a relatively new issue, the researchers note: “Further research is required to identify the long-term effects of extraterrestrial dust exposure and to develop potential countermeasures, such as specialized face masks.”
Another problem is radioactivity. Due to cosmic radiation, DNA mutates, which is fraught with the development of cancer in astronauts.
Last fall, the Icahn School of Medicine (New York) identified more than 30 mutations based on the results of sequencing the genomes of NASA crews. Most often, the TP53 gene, which produces a protein designed to fight tumors, has mutated.
Of particular concern is the connection of space flights with the activation of the Epstein-Barr virus, which causes mononucleosis.
Back in 2012, medical researchers at the University of Texas determined that the virus “reactivates during spaceflight, with virus shedding in saliva increasing to levels ten times greater than those observed before and after flight.”