Curiosity and Advancement
Challenges and Risks
The microgravity environment is a serious concern. It has been seen that prolonged stay in these conditions have detrimental effects on astronauts. The National Space Biomedical Institute lists several of these problems. Bones no longer experience the strain of supporting the body, and so they become brittle and weak as calcium is broken down and released into the body. Muscles which also support posture begin to weaken, increasing risks of fall-related injuries once they reach the Martian surface. To combat this, astronauts are required to participate in vigorous exercise to keep the muscles in use. The heart does not have to work as hard to pump blood, and so leads to deconditioning and shrinking. The inner ear, which helps maintain balance and helps us understand our orientation, cannot function properly without gravity. This can lead to motion sickness and problems stabilizing when the astronauts land, and the effects get worse the longer the astronaut is in microgravity. These are just some of the issues that arise in this harsh environment.