Our planet does a pretty good job of protecting us from space. Which is awfully nice of it, because space is trying to kill us.
Article: 10 Ways Space Is Trying to Kill You
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* Our planet does a pretty good job of protecting us from space. Which is awfully nice of it, because space is trying to kill us. Or at least maim us. Here are a few ways how:
* Extremely Low Pressure: Space isn’t a perfect vacuum, but it’s a pretty good approximation. And at low pressures, liquids boil at much lower temperatures than they normally would. So if you suddenly found yourself in the void of space without a suit, your soft tissues would vaporize and your saliva would boil on your tongue. You’d have less than 90 seconds to get back into a pressurized area before your injuries would be fatal.
* [Vision Problems:] Some 60% of ISS astronauts report a decline in vision clarity. Canadian Bob Thirsk said that after just a few weeks, his close-up vision had changed enough that he needed help focusing on-board cameras. Researchers suspect microgravity causes optic nerve swelling and eye structure changes, and they warn that the effects could cause permanent eye damage - or put astronauts at higher risk of accidents. NASA’s looking for a permanent solution, and they've developed adjustable-focus glasses to help mitigate the problem in the meanwhile.
* Wasting Effect: Your bones are living tissue. Right now, your cells are breaking down old, worn bone material while other cells deposit new minerals along your bones’ surfaces. Both processes are supposed to happen at the same rate. When they don’t, your bones weaken (like in osteoporosis). Microgravity can push that balance off kilter. Astronauts can lose some 2% of their total bone mass for every month they spend in microgravity, which really adds up on long trips. It can leave astronauts’ bones so weak that they can't walk upon return to Earth. Researchers are tinkering with astronauts' diet, exercise, and hormone levels to help stave off the damage.
* Cell Damage from Radiation: To duplicate the protection against space radiation that we get on Earth’s surface, a spaceship would have to have metal walls 3 feet thick. Astronauts making the 253-day trip to Mars would be exposed to the equivalent of a whole-body CT scan every 5 or 6 days. Unless we figure out some better way to shield interplanetary astronauts, they’d be at risk of dying from radiation sickness – or from cancer a few years down the line.
* That’s all the deadly space stuff we have time for today, but to learn more, like how space junk also has it in for us, Gravity-style, check out our article 10 Ways Space Is Trying to Kill You on HowStuffWorks.com. And hey, if you liked this video, make it official, and subscribe so you won’t miss the next one.