A team of scientists from the University of Texas at United States of AmericaA tube-shaped sleeping bag that sucks fluids that build up in their heads to the bottom of astronauts’ bodies. Weightlessness. These fluids can cause an eyeball disorder, which is one of the most serious medical problems affecting space travelers.
Experts have also already expressed concern about the possibility of something like this compromising missions for MarsSome efforts are being made to alleviate this deficiency, known as “spaceflight-associated neuro-ophthalmic syndrome” (SANS).
In 2011, a study commissioned by NASA revealed the occurrence of SANS in many astronauts. “What we’re seeing is flattening of the globe, enlargement of the optic nerve, a shift in vision and choroidal folds,” said ophthalmologist Charles Robert Gibson, one of the authors of the study published in the October issue of that year. ophthalmology, Scientific Journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
According to NASAThe syndrome has already caused short-sightedness in some astronauts and a degree of reading difficulty in others.
Astronauts cannot stand in space
In an interview with the BBC, researcher Benjamin Levine, a professor of medicine at the University of Texas and head of the study that developed the “suction tube sleeper”, revealed that long flights can exacerbate the problem. “We don’t know how damaging the effects could be on a longer trip, like having an operation on Mars for two years,” he said. “It would be a disaster if the astronauts were so severely disabled that they couldn’t see what they were doing and it hurt the mission.”
Levine explained that the pressure in weightlessness “is not as low as when standing.” According to him, the idea for the project came from the realization that astronauts cannot stand. “This leads us to sleeping bags, which create a vacuum chamber around the astronaut’s lower body, drawing fluid into the feet to relieve pressure on his eyes.”
And it seems to be working. In tests conducted in simulated environments in TeraThe participants’ eyes did not change shape for several days of sleeping on the device.
Some questions remain regarding the special sleeping bag. How long do astronauts stay on the device? Would you really work in space? While we still lack all the answers, we can’t help but wait and hope that this and other tools being created will be really beneficial for the health of space travelers.
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