Top 10 Sickening Facts About Space Travel

It Might Be A Good Idea To Masturbate In Space

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Astronauts are always at risk of contracting genitourinary illnesses while in space. Males are likely to go down with prostatitis, while females are at risk of urinary tract infections. Between 1981 and 1998, 23 of the 508 astronauts NASA sent into space suffered from genitourinary problems. While this statistic proves that genitourinary illnesses only affect a small percentage of astronauts, they aren’t minor issues and could lead to the termination of space missions.

The Soviet Union found this out the hard way in 1985, when cosmonaut Vladimir Vasyutin was forced to return to Earth after spending only two months out of a planned six-month stay at the Salyut-7 space station. Vladimir had suffered severe prostatitis, which caused fever, nausea, and serious pains whenever he urinated.

Marjorie Jenkins, NASA’s medical advisor, clarified that prostatitis could be one of the effects of decreased ejaculation. When men do not ejaculate enough, bacteria can accumulate in the prostate and cause an infection.

It is unknown whether astronauts are required to masturbate during space missions, but this doesn’t mean they haven’t been doing it. A Russian cosmonaut once admitted that he “makes sex by hand” while in space. In 2012, astronaut Ron Garan also clarified during an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit that astronauts do get some “free time” at the International Space Station. When asked for further clarification, he said, “I can only speak for myself, but we’re professionals.”

Emergency Medical Services Are Nonexistent In Space

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NASA has no sophisticated medical equipment on board its spacecraft or even the ISS. All it has are drugs and basic equipment that qualify as first aid. This means astronauts cannot be treated for anything other than basic ailments. So, what happens when an astronaut becomes severely sick or even requires surgery?

When such happens, NASA demands that the astronaut is sent back to Earth. NASA has an agreement with the Russian Space Agency, Roscosmos, to launch emergency Soyuz rockets to recover sick astronauts from the ISS. Besides the sick astronaut, the rocket would return with two extra astronauts since it requires a three-man crew. Such a trip would cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and a severely ill astronaut might not even survive the journey.

If NASA goes through all this just to recover a sick astronaut from the “nearby” ISS, what happens when it wants to recover an astronaut from Mars? NASA, through one of its subsidiaries, the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) has been funding several agencies to create unique medical equipment that can handle complicated ailments like heart attacks and appendicitis in space.

Drugs Are Less Effective In Space

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We just mentioned that only medical care immediately available to astronauts in space qualifies as first aid. Even at that, most of the drugs available aren’t as effective as they would be if they were administered here on Earth. During one study, researchers assembled eight first aid kits with 35 different drugs, including sleeping aids and antibiotics. Four of the kits were sent to the International Space Station, while the remaining four were kept in a special chamber at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

After 28 months, the drugs sent to the ISS were found to be less effective than those kept at the space center. Six of the drugs were also found to have either liquefied or changed in color compared to only two kept at the space center undergoing those changes. Researchers believe the loss of effectiveness is caused by the excessive vibration and radiation the drugs receive in the outer space. For now, NASA reduces the severity of this problem by replacing the drugs at the ISS every six months. In the future, it plans to improve the packaging and ingredients used in making drugs sent into space.

Carbon Dioxide Poisoning Is A Problem

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The ISS has a higher-than-average concentration of carbon dioxide. On Earth, the concentration of CO2 is about 0.3 mm Hg, but it can reach up to 6 mm Hg at the ISS. Unfavorable side effects like headaches, irritation, and sleeping difficulties, which have become a norm among astronauts, are few of the consequences of this higher-than-normal concentration of carbon dioxide. In fact, most astronauts complain of headaches early into their missions.

Unlike on Earth, where carbon dioxide leaving the body disperses into the air, CO2 exhaled by astronauts forms a cloud above their heads. The ISS has special fans on board to blow these clouds away from the heads of the astronauts and disperse it around the facility. NASA has also mandated that the concentration of CO2 in the ISS be reduced to 4 mm Hg. However, this is still higher than the recommended 2.5 mm HG. NASA could reduce it to this level, except that it would wear the fans out faster. Hopefully, NASA will find a solution to this problem before we start traveling to Mars

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