According to the Los Angeles Times, a new report led by Jeffrey Kahn of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics has presented a series of recommendations for NASA to consider as it sends astronauts on long-term missions. Such missions, including ventures to an asteroid and Mars, could expose astronauts to dangerous or unpredicted conditions in deep space. NASA requested that the Institute of Medicine examine such possibilities; the results of Kahn’s and other experts’ study were released on Wednesday.
The risks of long-term missions include cancer caused by radiation, degradation of bone mass after long periods in microgravity, solar storms that could expose astronauts to high levels of radiation and lead to fatigue or nausea, and blurred vision. There is also the psychological strain of being confined in a spacecraft through harrowing situations. In addition to these known risks, there could be unforeseen hazards that deep space missions could pose to astronauts’ health.Given the direction NASA is apparently headed, they could never send anyone into deep space, and realistically expect them to survive, much more survive healthy and intact for long durations of time. NASA needs to radically revise their goals upward for advanced propulsion and deep space human flight times -- the faster, the better. To read more, click here.