NASA scientists «removed» one of the possible obstacles to flight to Mars

© NASAАстронавт Nicole Stott takes a blood sample aboard the ISSNASA scientists «removed» one of the possible obstacles to flight to Mars© NASA

Long-term monitoring of the health of the crew of the ISS have shown that life in space does not lead to the development of anemia and other problems in the circulatory system, which could make the journey to Mars is dangerous to the health of astronauts, according to an article published in the journal BMC Hematology.

«If the astronauts is sent on a expedition to the surface of the moon or Mars, if they have to leave the spaceship and in their blood will not have enough red blood cells, then they will feel very tired and exhausted. They should be in perfect shape in order to perform such attacks and study the surface of new worlds,» said Kathleen Mcmonigal (Kathleen McMonigal) from space flight Center of NASA’s Johnson (USA).

Russian and American scientists have been examining how life in space affects human health and the immune system of humans and animals. For example, in 2015, they found out why many astronauts complain of visual problems in space, and why astronauts program «Apollo» occasionally fell and lost balance on the moon.

Last year, space doctors has revealed even more disturbing changes in humans and model animals while living in space. In particular, it became clear that a long stay in weightlessness irrevocably weakens the muscles of the back and leads to «rounding» of the heart, and a mission to Mars could lead to a marked deterioration in intellectual abilities of astronauts because of the destructive action of cosmic rays on the brain.

Mcmonigal and her colleagues studied data collected by the American physicians in observations of the health of the astronauts, making the relatively short flight into space aboard the Shuttle at the beginning and at the end of 2000, which lasted for several days about two weeks.

Blood samples obtained from astronauts immediately after leaving the spacecraft, pointed to a disturbing trend in just a few days spent in space, the mass of their red blood cells, red blood cells, fell to 10-15%, and plasma volume decreased by 17%. Both, as believed then, physicians should lead to the development of anemia in a more long-term flights into space.

NASA scientists checked if it is actually watching the health of crew members of the ISS who conducted aboard the station for at least six months. Comparing samples of their blood before, during and after space flight, biologists hoping to understand how serious the differences in sizes of red blood cells and the plasma composition, and find out whether they can be eliminated.

In total, this project involved 31 members of the ISS crew, most of which were delivered to the ISS on Russian Soyuz. As it turned out, none of them suffered from those problems which were fixed the members of the crews of the Shuttle, making short flights into space.

In the first days after contact with the ISS, the mass of red blood cells, plasma volume and other properties of blood do worse, but then they stabilized and did not change for many weeks and months. This, according to Mcmonigal and her colleagues, suggests that anemia is not one of the main problems for future marsonautes or the inhabitants of the base in orbit of the moon.