How are illnesses dealt with on board a space ship?  What provisions are made and what kind of illnesses can occur?

Fortunately serious illness has not been a problem with space flight so far.  There are many effects of space travel on humans, including common “space motion sickness” (which normally lasts only about a day) and long-term effects such as a loss of bone and muscle mass (which manifests itself when the astronaut returns to Earth).  A few astronauts have suffered from colds in space, and at least one from a mild urinary infection, but there were no serious medical conditions.  As long as we stay close to the Earth, even perhaps including trips to the Moon, illness is not likely to be a serious problem, but when human crews go on longer trips to the asteroids or to Mars, this is indeed a potential issue to be considered.

David Morrison

NLSI Interim Director

April18, 2007

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Did you know?

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the Moon.

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