Risks of Space Exploration

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Dear Readers,

Thank you for reading my posts, I have previously posted on "Is Space exploration actually worth the cost"and have written a few risks in space exploration and as the tittle suggests this is a continuation of the contributing factors of space exploration that might be risky and on my previous post i showed how a life capapble planet(Mars) has its risks and this will be about the whole interface of space.

Space exploration is a risky business. Space is a vacuum and humans cannot exist in a vacuum. This means that we have to create crafts and suits which provide an environment where humans can survive.

The risks involved with space exploration include:

.micrometeorites – danger from impact damage (to spacecraft and to astronauts during spacewalks)

.solar flares and radiation – danger from ionising radiations

.no atmosphere – we need air to breathe

.space debris – danger from impact damage

The main danger in space comes from temperature. It can vary from being extremely cold (in shadow, not in line of sight of the sun -150 C) to very hot (in line of sight of the sun +120C). The suits and craft are designed to keep the environment at the temperature that we can live in – about 20C. So excellent cooling and heating systems are required in space.According to thr BBC the link is:https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/zqm4fcw/revision/7

If astronauts are in orbit then they are usually travelling very fast. The International Space Station orbits the Earth about 12-15 times a day. In space, with no air, this is not a major problem in terms of air friction.However, on returning to Earth, the spacecraft will re-enter the atmosphere. While the air itself may not seem dense, travelling very fast through air creates very high frictional forces generating extremely high temperatures.To protect astronauts from these high temperatures, the spacecraft must be able to:absorb a certain amount of heat energy.radiate heat energy back into the atmosphere.Spacecraft have heatproof tiles on the underside. These protect the occupants from the high temperatures and prevent the spacecraft from being destroyed on re-entry. Re-entry temperatures can reach as high as 1,650C.There are also the risks of space travel which is one major factor,see if one is not able to travel and theyre very qualified there is no point exploring for sustanable living areas.Ask most people about the dangers of space, and major emergencies will come to mind: getting lost, vehicle malfunction, being hit by meteorites.

Astronaut Chris Hadfield, who spent time on the International Space Station (ISS), says that being hit by a meteorite is not uncommon. It is a reminder, he says in a video for the BBC, that "you're actually in an aluminum bubble."And far away from home.Spacecrafts must be made of materials that can operate in microgravity while in space, but that can also withstand the 3G acceleration needed to take off in the first place.They need protection against meteorites, solar winds and man-made debris from previous human ventures. The ISS, traveling at almost 17,000 miles per hour, is susceptible even to dust-sized grains.

A puncture to the body of a spacecraft would cause the vacuum outside to suck everything and everyone out.The aluminum shell of each module of the ISS is covered with a 10-inch thick "blanket" consisting of layers of Kevlar, ceramic fabrics and other advanced materials. Kevlar is the material used in bulletproof vests.But even if 100% vehicle safety could be guaranteed, what about the day-to-day pressures on the human body? What hazards do space travelers face, and how can they be overcome?Gravity affects blood circulation and the musculoskeletal system, among other things. According to Richard Setlow, in an article published by the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO)(heres the link:http://www.embo.org/), the effects of microgravity could prevent astronauts, and their bodies, from performing necessary functions in space.On Earth, our cardiovascular system is designed to pump blood away from the feet and distribute it to every part of the body.In space, without gravity to draw it down, the system is less effective. The blood moves up toward the chest and the head, making the face puffy and increasing the risk of high blood pressure. As the delivery of oxygen becomes less efficient, organ function can be hampered. There is an increased risk of cardiac arrhythmia and atrophy(An arrhythmia describes an irregular heartbeat - the heart may beat too fast, too slowly, too early, or irregularly. ... Many heart arrhythmias are harmless; however, if they are particularly abnormal, or result from a weak or damaged heart, arrhythmias can cause serious and even potentially fatal symptoms.)

Finally, one of the most deadliest is SPACE FUNGUS and heres why:We’ve known since the 1960s that some microorganisms can survive the perils of space, including microgravity, extreme temperatures, and radiation. And given that our best efforts to wipe space vessels clean of microorganisms often fails, exposure to these potentially pathogenic organisms is unavoidable. Now, a new study supports that claim. In October, researchers found that the airborne fungus Aspergillus fumigatus, the most common cause of invasive fungal infection in humans, grows just as well on the ISS as it does on Earth. And if fumigatus lives just fine in space, the researchers write, so could many other, more lethal pathogens. The researchers say this calls for a better detection and cleaning policy to avoid sending a ship full of astronauts into the dangers of deep space, only to have them killed by an earthly pathogen.

There we have it these are some of the risks for health and safety in space!

Thanks for reading


Comments (12)

  • tom Tom @ Topical Talk
    30 Oct 2019

    Thank you for this post, digital_truth. You have supported a lot of your statements with evidence and demonstrated where you found it. Please try to cite your sources for everything - could you tell us where you found the information about the space fungus?

    When writing about the risks of space, it's also worth looking at the other side of the coin - how are organisations like NASA protecting astronauts against these risks? Giving two sides would help your piece be more balanced and let us assess the risks more accurately.

    Reply to this comment
  • Graveney-logo-250x250.jpg balanced_volcano | Graveney School | United Kingdom
    30 Oct 2019

    you have stated your opinion and have explained the facts very well and clearly so, well done

    Reply to this comment
  • Graveney-logo-250x250.jpg skillful_passionfruit | Graveney School | United Kingdom
    30 Oct 2019

    I feel the same way, there are so many risks about going into space. Even though many people are protecting astronauts from this, there is still a high possibility of a sudden fire or getting hit by a meteorite. To be less pessimistic, we already have come so far in coming to space, and I'm sure we can find a way to avoid all these obstacles.

    Reply to this comment
    1. tom Tom @ Topical Talk
      skillful_passionfruit's comment 31 Oct 2019

      This is a very open-minded perspective, skillful_passionfruit!

      Reply to this comment
  • Phoenix-logo-250x250.jpg willing_saxophone | Phoenix Primary School
    31 Oct 2019

    We could add more to this

    The risks involved with space exploration include:

    .micrometeorites – danger from impact damage (to spacecraft and to astronauts during spacewalks)

    .solar flares and radiation – danger from ionising radiations

    .no atmosphere – we need air to breathe

    .space debris – danger from impact

    How about falling off the planet

    Reply to this comment
  • Weston-Favell-logo-250x250.jpg honorable_conclusion | Weston Favell Academy | United Kingdom
    03 Nov 2019

    Space exploration is a fascinating subject. It can revolutionise the world and the human race. But the question is : is it worth the negative side effects that the astronauts suffer?

    The first risk is radiation. While on the International Space Station, astronauts are exposed to ten times worse radiation than on Earth. This level of exposure can lead to cancer risks, damages the central nervous system, can alter cognitive function and prompt behaviour changes among other things. This shows that astronauts should not go up because it can cause serious problems in later life. Also, if there were to be a mission further than the ISS, it would be much worse.

    The second risk is isolation and confinement. Behavioral issues among groups of people crammed in a small space over a long period of time, no matter how well trained they are, are inevitable. Crews will be carefully chosen, trained and supported to ensure they can work effectively as a team for months or years in space. Sometimes,people will become restless or irritated being confined in the same space for a long duration of time. Sleep loss, circadian desynchronization, and work overload compound this issue and may lead to performance decrements, adverse health outcomes, and compromised mission objectives and these are all effects of isolation and confinement. However, scientist are currently researching a solution to this problem. This shows that astronauts should not go up because it causes problems to missions and to the person's positive mindset.

    The third risk is the distance from Earth. This applies more to future space exploration of Mars or other planets. As the ISS or the moon are relatively close to Earth, if a problem occurs ( like a medical emergency), they can return to Earth within a matter of hours. Whereas, if there was a mission to Mars, there is a three year journey and they could not get back to Earth.

    The fourth risk is the lack of gravity. The lack of gravity in space means that, when the astronauts return to Earth, they have to learn how to do everything again- even the most simple tasks. This is because there muscles have to readapt to the gravity.

    However, there are some arguments that say astronauts should go into space. Firstly, astronauts have agreed to go into space - they have not been forced to. This shows that they should go into space because they are aware of the consequences that may happen as a result of space exploration. In addition, the astronauts have been trained to go into space. This means that they are prepared for all eventualities when they are in space and for when they return to Earth. This shows that space exploration should continue as they are prepared for bad consequences and know how to deal with it. Also, astronauts should be allowed to go into space becasue, although rovers are good, it is better when astronauts report what they have seen.

    In conclusion, there are negative side effects to going to space;however, the astronauts are fully aware of these consequences.

    Do you think the positives from space exploration are worth the negative side effects for the astronauts? Let me know what you think.

    Information found at :https://www.nasa.gov/hrp/5-hazards-of-human-spaceflight

    Reply to this comment
  • CuddingtonCroft-logo-250x250.jpg memorable_tiger | Cuddington Croft Primary School
    07 Nov 2019

    I agree there are so many ways that an astronaut could get hurt and that there are chances that the person/spacecraft could get hit by a meteorite. People try there best to prevent this from happening but sometimes things go wrong.

    Reply to this comment
    1. tom Tom @ Topical Talk
      memorable_tiger's comment 08 Nov 2019

      You're right, some things can go wrong. Maybe you'd like to ask one of our space experts a question about the chances of this happening and how space engineers react? https://burnetnewsclub.com/issues/space-exploration/the-discussion/ask-astronaut-and-other-experts/

      Reply to this comment
  • Hammond School logo versatile_molecule | Hammond Junior School B
    22 Nov 2019

    I think risk taking is part of space exploration. Many things can go wrong but at the end of the day a person who does not make any mistakes does not make anything at all. The capsule of a rocket could explode, there could be a rip in a space suit, poisonous gases could get into the cabin, people could die but scientists do their best, we have overcome so many challenges. sometimes it can be scary however everyone is doing their best.

    Reply to this comment
  • Hammond School logo resilient_apple | Hammond Junior School B
    13 Dec 2019

    The risks of space exploration are:
    Losing air
    Floating away in space
    Dying because of a great fall
    The rocket could explode
    Poisonous gases
    Rips in the space suit
    Damage to the rocket
    Black holes

    Reply to this comment

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