NASA Astronauts’ Brain Scans Reveal Serious Deformities

DeMonchaux30Space travel changes you, and not in a good way. If this is the effect of only a couple weeks, it definitely puts a damper on the idea of attempting a ten-year voyage to another galaxy. The Irish Times reports:

Brain scans of Nasa astronauts who have returned to Earth after more than a month in space have revealed potentially serious abnormalities that could jeopardise long-term space missions.

Doctors examined 27 astronauts who had flown long-duration missions and found a pattern of deformities in their eyeballs, optic nerves and pituitary glands that remain unexplained.

Astronauts who had flown on the Space Shuttle and International Space Station reported changes to eyesight, with some seeing worse and others better. Brain scans revealed that seven of the 27 astronauts had a flattening of the back of one or both eyes.

23 Comments on "NASA Astronauts’ Brain Scans Reveal Serious Deformities"

  1. So, basically humans turn into mutants if we go into outer space.

    • Jonathan Gregus | Mar 14, 2012 at 12:58 pm |

      I’m curious to know how much is due to being in space of the kind of physical rigors that their bodies have to go through in the training to prepare to go up there in the first place.

      • Liam_McGonagle | Mar 14, 2012 at 1:01 pm |

        I wonder how much of it has to do with the various constituent fibres/fluids of the human body having been selectively evolved to meet the earth’s specific gravity.

  2. These are clearly the effects of seeing the Monolith 

  3. kiril germanov | Mar 14, 2012 at 1:10 pm |

    Some people pay millions of dollars to go into space and get damaged, while others don’t have money to buy medicines and cure themselves. What an irony.


  4. makes sense.we are Earth made.leaving Earth requires exact Earth conditions.anything less is noted biologically.we are optimized for Earth,dead in non-Earth.

    • Hopefully, we will be able to identify the problem & simulate the necessary elements of the Earth-enviornment in a space ship.  I hope this doesn’t mean we’re going to be confined to Earth forever.  

      • Monkey See Monkey Do | Mar 15, 2012 at 1:47 am |

        I dont think it will mean us being confined to earth forever. But as you said, it will require us to simulate the necessary elements of the earth environment. This technology will inevitably work in conjuction with terraforming science.

  5. ground control | Mar 14, 2012 at 1:41 pm |

    I thought it seemed pretty obvious that if gravity isn’t pulling blood downward to the legs, pressure would increase in the head. I remember hearing that many astronauts have headaches for the first couple of days in weightlessness.

    I hope they figure it out, though, because I’ve also heard (from esotericists) that the human being needs the earth’s magnetic field and our mental health relies on it, pointing to those astronauts who have had “episodes” after living away from it. I’d like to see how that plays out.

    • Liam_McGonagle | Mar 14, 2012 at 3:08 pm |

      Indeed, the legendary SPACE MADNESS.

      A terrifying prospect when you consider unimpressive the baseline average level of sanity for the typical earth-bound drudge.

      • DeepCough | Mar 14, 2012 at 5:19 pm |

        Reminds me of the unfortunate incident involving a Capt. Ren Hoek from the 1990’s.

  6. Scott Doty | Mar 14, 2012 at 1:54 pm |

    “it definitely puts a damper on the idea of attempting a ten-year voyage to another galaxy”

    10 years to another galaxy?  That makes as much sense as “puts a damper on walking to the moon.”

    • Marklar_Prime | Mar 14, 2012 at 4:26 pm |

      Thank you. I was sorely afraid that the scientific literacy on this site had dropped to level of letting this idiotic remark  go unchallenged. Unless this genius has just invented a spaceship that travels at 2,500 x the speed of light (The nearest galaxy is the dwarf galaxy Canis Major with a distance of about 25,000 light years from us), I feel it’s safe to say that nobody is traveling to another galaxy in a mere 10 years anytime soon without a rather miraculous leap in technology and physics.

      I think a better analogy might be that it’s like saying “puts a damper on the idea of a ten-year voyage to God’s celestial throne in heaven.”

  7. JoiquimCouteau | Mar 14, 2012 at 2:27 pm |

    Another reason we should be using genetically modified, altitude-resistant astronauts.

    • Liam_McGonagle | Mar 14, 2012 at 2:57 pm |

      You’re spot on there, mate.  I see one big, fat open-ended gov’t contract in Monsanto’s future.

      Is there NOTHING the private sector can’t accomplish?

  8. Maybe the tests dont take exit g-forces into account. instead of weightlessness causing the problems, it could be the tremendous stress put on the body by excessive gravity departing and reentering the atmosphere.

    answer is mri before launch, and mri in orbit. then check differences.

    • Marklar_Prime | Mar 14, 2012 at 4:31 pm |

       An interesting thought but if this were the case you could confirm it by simply testing to see if military fighter pilots suffer from the same changes since they experience the same kind of G forces as astronauts and with greater frequency.

  9. 10 year voyage to another galaxy? I think you are off a couple of zeros there.

  10. MoralDrift | Mar 15, 2012 at 4:23 am |

    Interesting, cant say that I’m happy about it though….why do you mock us vast blackness of space????!!!!!!!!!

  11. That problem is not in anyway a show stopper. The need for artificial gravity for long duration space flight has been know since the 70’s when during even short stays in space a rapid decrease in bone density was noted. Currently on the ISS an exercise regimen or cardiovascular workout with resistance training helps to reduce this bone density loss but isn’t the answer on longer missions. No doubt that the anatomical deformities listed in this research are caused by long exposure to micro-gravity. For long duration missions, say to mars, many ideas have already been explored for simple, easy to implement forms of artificial gravity using centripetal force combined with an exercise regimen which can reduce bone loss and most likely these other anatomical deformities as well. Even if the astronauts are exposed to less than 1G through artificial gravity for only an hour a day during exercise, bone loss would be negligible. The same might not be true for the deformities and with further study they might find out that the time needed in artificial gravity might need to be longer per day. 

  12. Seems to me that we could find much cheaper ways to blind astronauts right here on earth.  

    (Yeah, I ripped that off from the onion).

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