View Full Version : Discussion: Spaceflight Could Decrease Immunity

2004-Sep-30, 06:19 PM
SUMMARY: Traveling in space could be hard on your immune system, according to a new study funded by NASA. Researchers tested 25 astronauts before and after various space shuttle missions of varying lengths, and found that white blood cells increased after the astronauts returned from space. The increased number of white blood cells meant that the astronauts bodies were working overtime to fight off various microbes and diseases. And it appears that these effects probably increase as missions get longer and more difficult.

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2004-Sep-30, 06:24 PM
Has NASA tried to pinpoint what these viruses might be?

2004-Sep-30, 08:43 PM
I had a thought when reading this that was both fascinating and horrible. Picture that we send a team to Mars--a year or two to get there, a year or two more to come back and maybe the better part of a year there. Then these people, returning from Mars (not that Mars is problematic) but from the effects of space travel, they suffer the same fate as the martians in H. G. Well's War of the Worlds--common bacteria kills them!

I also had another thought, which I seem to think came from some observations popularly publicized around the time of the spacelab program. Similar indications of long term hazard were discussed and one suggestion made was that maybe when we have better shielding and the gravity substitute of centrifical force in a spinning habitat (picture Kubrick's 2001: a space odessy) then there might be more normalcy. Hmmm

2004-Oct-01, 12:31 AM
Space flight puts astronauts in a high radiation zone. I imagine that this is a contributing factor.

mark mclellan
2004-Oct-01, 09:23 AM
Similar to early sailing expaditions of yester year ie scurvy. As we become more and more travelled in space will we probably discover ways to combat some of these affects. :D

2004-Oct-05, 10:14 AM
[FONT=Arial]..so there is life (microbes)out of space after all? or we sent our best man in space already with desease?