Hazards of Space Travel and Habitation

Communications Satellites; a Concept from Science Fiction

Communications Satellites at the Udvar-Hazy Center, Washington DC. CommSats are vital for communicating with astronauts in space.
Communications Satellites at the Udvar-Hazy Center, Washington DC. CommSats are vital for communicating with astronauts in space. | Source

Dreams of DARPA

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, during late summer 2011, exerted a flurry of effort to

  1. Develop future space travel and
  2. Apply social networking to warfare strategies.

The latter is ironic, since WWII military divisions in America developed the first foundation of the Internet. In the 2010s to the end of the century, they seek expertise from Internet technologies in the private sector, just as they seek aerospace technologies from the private sector.

I enjoyed reading during the mid-1990s about DARPA, including timelines and descriptions of early wireless communications type of Internet precursors from 1944-45 that were available on the battlefield during WWII via wireless.

Today, these articles all seem to have disappeared.

What are left are the related developments beginning in the 1970s. The US military is back in the Internet business and may not want their history of it broadcast widely - like to potential military enemies. Understandable.

The first Internet-like communications in 1944-45 were designed to go offline frequently, much in the manner of pre-56K modem capability. This design interfered with enemy interception and was effective.

DARPA sees the potential effectiveness and turning to expertise in the private sector in the 2010s for social network applications and space flight innovations.

Very old Skylab food heating and serving tray with food, drink, and utensils. NASA aand private researchers still have work to do in food service and nutrition in space.
Very old Skylab food heating and serving tray with food, drink, and utensils. NASA aand private researchers still have work to do in food service and nutrition in space. | Source

Planning Needed for Safety and Productivity

US military R & D reportedly plans to spend $500,000 of grant funding on plans to reach interstellar space. First, we say that that is not much money for a wide ranging project and second, we must query why we should do this with our tax dollars - whether they be IRS funds, Flat Tax, or Fair Tax, all of which some core group hates.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is DARPA of old. They are applying the brain power and experience of a number of astrophysicists, engineers, and science fiction writers (grade A+ for that!) to build an interstellar ship. William Shatner and his people have put together a large amount of material on this already and should be consulted.

DARPA discusses the possibility of new products for the future, just as the US manned space program has already developed new products. Products we may see from 2010 - 2100 may include new types of computers (I have thought about a hanging-in-air plasma or hologram PC for a long time and so have others), algorithms, new (to humans) concepts in physics, continuations of experimental mathematics into larger fields of wonder, new methods of food production, even new philosophy-religions (already described in the Mars Trilogy of the 1990s), they say.

Sci-Fi Groundwork Completed

Red Mars (Mars Trilogy)
Red Mars (Mars Trilogy)

The Red Mars Trilogy is as lifelike as we can approach to simulating Martial life in early years. The author has also looked at Antarctic experiments in isolated living.


Mars Life Described Well In The 1990s

A lot of work already has been done toward interstellar travel by the Mars Society and unrelated author of the Mars Trilogy, Kim Stanley Robinson.

Bring space travelers to the proverbial table. Bring our former astronauts into the discussion.

Arthur C. Clarke was a scientist that conceptualized our comsats, was laughed at, and now we have them and because of that, we have cell phones and iPads (Star Trek®).

Sci-Fi is the dream and R & D gives the dream life and breath.We may reach Mars as early as 2018.

Hologram at the MIT Museum.
Hologram at the MIT Museum. | Source

A Period of Unmanned Space Flight is Smart

A number of books and papers have been written about the dangers of space travel. Kids in the 1950s - 1960s enjoyed watching some of these ideas in animated simulations on the World of Disney weekly television show. Having seen a few, I recall experiments with total isolation, the blocking of all sense stimuli, and sleep deprivation. These conditions all led to hallucinations and further mental collapse if not interrupted. They can result in death.

Further, we have problems of the loss of bone and muscle mass, no matter how many daily hours of exercise are maintained without gravity. We need gravity. A little less gravity is good for cardiac patents, but once fully adjusted, they cannot return to earth without stroking. I wonder at their capacity to survive G-forces of takeoff as it is today. New trajectories may be needed.

Other evidence suggests that once acclimatized to outer space long-term, it becomes impossible for a spacefarer to sleep on Earth, and difficult to sleep in space - this can also lead to death.

Dozens of other conditions are related to long-term space travel and are studied in such fields as bioscience and aerospace medicine. I expect Aerospace Public Health to come along very soon as a new field, given the gusto of US determination in a Mission to Mars and beyond. This is not even to mention social and interpersonal problems. Interstellar travel is a big, big deal.

Sleeping In The ISS

In other vehicles, astronauts have hung on the wall in a sleeping bag.
In other vehicles, astronauts have hung on the wall in a sleeping bag. | Source

Unmanned missions to Mars and the asteroid belt outlying it will help determine the hospitality of the planet to humans, what accommodations are necessary, and the extent of resources present that may be mined and brought to Earth.

For instance, the book Red Mars speaks of literal mountains of salt leftover after excavating for dwellings and office spaces - what to do with the mountains of salt? Unmanned missions will be interesting and give us information about human survival potential before we send live astronauts into the void.

Whenever the first human team arrives on Mars, the first step will likely be even more awesome then the last scene in America's version of Life on Mars . I look forward to viewing that landing on my hologram device or other advanced gadgetry.

Salt Mountain May Be A Problem


Atlas V Rocket lifted Juno toward Jupiter, August 2011

Juno's Mission to Jupiter

© 2011 Patty Inglish

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Comments 7 comments

FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

I saw the news item about how photos show that Mars has water that *flows*-fascinating to use Mr. Spock's favourite term. I must admit that I have never had any interesting in going to space. However, I am interested in science that the astronaughts can teach us.

MrMaranatha profile image

MrMaranatha 5 years ago from Somewhere in the third world.

I think its like a yacht that sits in an expensive slip costing us money... allot of money all the time and yielding little useful product in return.

I truly do not think we are getting our moneys worth from the Space Race... In fact I think it is a sink hole that gobbles up more money than the american people can afford today.

So in response to the title... How space travel can kill you... I propose that its killing our economy day by day a billion dollars at a time...

The Great NASA Vanishing act.

Larry Fields profile image

Larry Fields 5 years ago from Northern California

Voted up. The gravity-in-space problem may be easy to solve. Since the 1950s, sci fi writers and others have speculated about spinning torus-shaped space stations, to provide artificial gravity for the human passengers. The sci fi novel series, Ringworld, takes that idea one step further.

In the Star Trek series, the Borg buzz around interstellar space in their cube-shaped spacecraft. And I say, Why not? In interplanetary space, the drag would be negligible. A doughnut-shaped spacecraft would be an even more practical design, provided that it's assembled in space.

wedding day profile image

wedding day 5 years ago

A nice post. If I have enough power, I will have a space travel. I can see the whole earth. It is very very very stunning!

Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 5 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

Science and the Military are forever trying to find ways to get people off this planet to another whether for peace or war it doesn't matter.

Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 5 years ago from Jamaica

I am always curious about the space thing. I have a love-hate relationship with sci-fi. I want to know more but the predictions of space life also scare me...the alien thing I mean. Okay...so I watched a few sci-fi movies where the aliens were not very friendly at all.

Seriously, wouldn't it be cool if we could book a flight to mars for vacation?

The satelite photos look like chandeliers...hehehe..lol

TheWorldNow profile image

TheWorldNow 5 years ago from Washington DC

Nice article. I think a lot about Mars Travel and the future of the human race. I think it's right around the corner and I look forward to the day when we set foot on Mars. Vote up!

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