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Artemis I will launch female-astronaut health studies

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Top 3 Best News : When NASA’s Artemis I mission launches to the moon later this month, the Orion space capsule will have two special passengers, Helga and Zohar.

The pair are actually mannequin torsos called phantoms, inspired by hospital training tools and made to mimic the human bones, soft tissues, and internal organs of an adult female. They originate from joint work with the Israel Space Agency and the German Aerospace Center and are designed with sensors that can map radiation exposure levels throughout the body. Specifically, The Zohar wears a radiation protective vest designed to protect the actual astronauts slated for future Artemis missions, including the first woman to go to the Moon.

The last time humans set foot on the moon or crossed low Earth orbit was at the end of the Apollo program in 1972. did not recognize womenThings changed in 1978 when the first American female astronaut candidate was selected. young sally ride among them.

Today, NASA’s astronaut team is even more diverse. But that’s not reflected in the data that informs their safety protocols. That’s why the institution and its collaborators are working on new research to understand how different human bodies respond to the extreme environments of space. We are starting an experiment. all For astronauts to work safely.

[Related: A brief history of menstruating in space]

“We stand on the shoulders of giants and have made a lot of progress. But we still need a lot of progress to understand. [the biological nuances between astronauts]say Jennifer FogertyChief Scientific Officer of the Translational Research Institute for Space Health, sponsored by the NASA Human Research Program and led by Baylor College of Medicine. Her goal, she said, is to build spaceflight tools and health care regimens for astronauts to “empower the human body to perform the tasks it’s expected of us and reduce the chances of colliding with it.” is,” she says.

Zohar has the vest in front and Helga in the back. DLRMore

ZERO GRAM WEAR

To look for patterns, researchers like Fogerty have collected data on how gender differences affect the health of astronauts. But so far, she says, research into how the female body responds to the extreme environments of space is “quite limited.” 600+ flew in space. less than 100 One of them was a woman. Tools like Helga and Zohar help collect data in a way that doesn’t rely on historical trends.

Scientist Jobs , it is difficult to extrapolate reliable gender differences or gender-specific medical Jobs trends based on these figures, as some characteristics may simply be due to individual differences. When female astronauts on the International Space Station developed blood clots, an investigation was conducted to determine whether the use of hormonal contraceptives to control the menstrual cycle increases the risk of clots during spaceflight.a A review of 38 female astronauts published later that year concluded that no. However, given such a small sample size and how rare blood clots associated with hormonal contraceptives are, the question remains open.

In some ways, Fogerty says, women have proven to be particularly “resilient” during spaceflight. For example, the visual acuity of male astronauts appears to be more affected by swelling around the optic nerve in weightlessness than that of female astronauts. However, according to a 2014 study, Female astronauts statistically experience orthostatic intolerance. Upon returning to Earth (cannot stand for long periods without fainting).

Artemis I Mission Space Mannequin Gray and Pink Internal Parts
A radiation-sensitive layer on a mannequin emulating a female body in the Artemis I mission. DLRMore

Radioactive contamination from space

Beyond short-term conditions and body changes, much of the interest in human health in space focuses on exposure to cosmic radiation from the explosion of stars and galaxies. Most of the available data comes from laboratory studies on rodents or observations of atomic bomb survivors, says Fogarty: It suggests that female survivors are more likely to develop lung cancer than males. shows a pattern.

Because women appear to suffer more side effects from radiation sickness than men, NASA recently set a permissible level of radiation exposure for all astronauts by restricting them to what was previously the permissible dose for a 35-year-old female. Criteria for uniform exposure have been updated.

However, galactic cosmic rays are different from the radiation of nuclear weapons. For one thing, exposures from nuclear accidents and acts of war are two-dimensional, meaning that certain organs may be exposed to more radiation than others. But in space, radiation “is thought to be ubiquitous,” says Fogerty. You are exposed in all directions.By some calculations, the radiation exposure rate on the moon is about 2.6 times More than an astronaut on board the International Space Station (ISS) experiences. Still, in one week on the ISS, Astronauts could be exposed to the same amount of radiation Because humans live on earth for more than a year.

Radiation comes from all angles in space, so devising physical barriers such as space suits and protective vests can be difficult. This makes it important to understand how all human organs are affected by radiation exposure.

Artemis I spacecraft female and male mannequins in orbit mockup
A mannequin en route to the Moon in the Artemis I mission. NASA/Lockheed Martin/DLR

Helga and Zohar appear there. Matroshka AstroRad radiation experiment (Mare). Inside is a grid of 10,000 passive sensors and 34 active radiation detectors that collect data for researchers about which parts of the body are in most contact with electromagnetic waves during spaceflight. . Some organs are protected by a layer of soft tissue, while others are not. This allows engineers to build more targeted systems to protect the areas of the body most at risk from harmful radiation.

“In terms of biological effects, in addition to the differences between males and females, we get differences in various body organs, such as the difference between the brain and the uterus,” he said. Ramona Gazaleads the MARE science team at NASA’s Johnson Space Center Press conference this week.

The Artemis I experiment, designed to study the effects of radiation, is more than just two torsos. Missions also include an array of living organisms such as yeast, fungi, algae, and plant seeds.of A NASA project called BioSentinelThe Orion Capsule will launch CubeSats carrying yeast cells into orbit around the Moon to test how organisms survive in a deep space environment.

[Related: Long spaceflights could be bad for our eyes]

In total, the Artemis I mission will launch ten CubeSats. The rest study aspects of the lunar environment that prove important for characterizing the safety of future manned trips to the Moon.These include tools to study space weather and bursts of solar radiation, tools to map the distribution of water ice on the Moon, and small lander From the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Also, Helga and Zohar aren’t the only “passengers” on Artemis I. stuffed sheep, which will involve a male body mannequin equipped with sensors to measure various aspects of the environment around the Moon, including radiation exposure, during flight. Helga and Zohar don’t wear spacesuits. Commander Mounikin Campos Wear the first-generation Orion Crew Survival System, used by Artemis astronauts when real humans return to the moon.

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