Astronauts are pioneers of science, especially since they have been putting their lives at risk every time they left the protection of the Earth’s atmosphere. Now, a new study revealed that astronauts can be severely affected by deep space radiation, leaving them predisposed to heart conditions.
Michael Delp, the lead researcher of the study and Dean of the Florida State University of the Human Sciences department, focused on the circumstances of death of 42 different astronauts who flew missions outside of Earth’s atmosphere.
The sample included those who participated in the Apollo missions and those who spent extended amounts of time on the International Space Station.
The study’s conclusions were that astronauts who leave the protection of the Earth’s atmosphere and get exposed to deep space radiation are more likely to develop a heart problem than those who never leave the planet’s proximity.
Delp declared that even though humans have been exploring space for an extended period, there is still little information on how the outer atmosphere travels affect the astronaut’s health, especially their cardiovascular system.
In order to learn more about the problem, Delp, and his team gathered a sample of lab mice and were exposed to weightlessness and radiation for six months. After the experiment had ended, the researchers discovered that the hearts of the rodents were compromised.
The study confirmed that deep space radiation causes heart decline, a precursor of the majority of cardiovascular illnesses in humans.
Among the victims of space exposure, side effects were James Irwin and Neil Armstrong. The latter lost his life after a series of complications during his bypass surgery. Irwin, who was the pilot during the Apollo 15 mission started experiencing irregular heartbeats during the flight to the moon. He died in 1991 after suffering two heart attacks.
This is the first study that sheds some light on the side effects of deep space radiation exposure. NASA experts are still analyzing all of the data gathered by Scott Kelly during his one-year mission on the ISS.
The astronaut and his cosmonaut companion, Mikhail Kornienko, spent an entire year on the ISS as part of an experiment meant to measure the way in which the body reacts when exposed to long intervals of zero gravity.
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