Health Risks in Space

Simulating space on Earth to help protect astronauts - Four new experiments will benefit both space travellers and Earthlings

LONGUEUIL, QC - Four new Canadian studies in the field of space health research have received funding from the Government of Canada to reduce health risks for astronauts on long-term missions. These experiments will simulate space conditions on Earth to investigate the physiological and psychosocial adaptation to space.

These research projects may also have a positive impact on health and the quality of life here on Earth. Many of the physiological changes that astronauts undergo in space are similar to problems related to aging or physical inactivity. The psychosocial effects of long-term space travel are also comparable to those experienced in remote work environments, isolated communities and among shut-ins.

• The Canadian Space Agency is investing a total of $1.7 million in these studies.

• Workers who spend a winter season at an Antarctica research stations experience isolation similar to what astronauts experience during long-term missions to the International Space Station. They are confined with a limited group of people far from their families and normal social and health support networks.

• Subjects taking part in studies at the MEDES facilities will spend 60 days confined to an inclined bed with their heads at an angle six degrees lower than the body. This produces some of the same effects on the body as weightlessness in space.

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