Health Concerns Affecting The Astronauts In Apollo 11 Mission

One thing I learned from the Apollo 11 exhibit in the library was mostly about their astronaut suits. There are many layers in each part of the suit starting from the hands all the way down to the boots. I found it very interesting that the suit itself weighs 48 pounds, and their life support system weighs another 57. One neat thing about the astronauts suit is that the gloves game them a feeling of sensation. Through the material it was made out of, they were able to have feeling in all of their fingers and thumbs. The astronauts on Apollo 11 had to breathe in pure oxygen while in space. They did not simply inhale the oxygen and dispel carbon dioxide a single time like we do all day, every day. The men on Apollo 11 exhaled carbon dioxide which was then processed or scrubbed to get rid of the carbon and other harmful gasses. The oxygen was recycled, so to speak, from the exhaled carbon dioxide gas to be inhaled as pure oxygen again. This process took place in specific canisters called Lithium Hydroxide canisters. This device cleaned, stored, regulated, and recycled important gasses critical for the astronauts to breathe. The Lithium Hydroxide canisters were essential to the filtering of dangerous carbon dioxide gas. They also were critical to maintain a safe, pure oxygen environment within the Command Module for the health and wheel being of the astronauts. A pressurized nitrogen gas cylinder was present in the Apollo 11 Command Module Hatch. The hatch could be opened outward in just a few seconds by pumping the handle that activated the nitrogen cylinder. The pressurized nitrogen gas allowed for a quick and safe release of the Command Module Hatch which was important to the function of the spacecraft. The fuel used to power Apollo 11 Lunar Module was made up of a fifty fifty blend of Unsymmetrical Dimethyl Hydrazine and Hydrazine. These gasses are very potent in order to power the space craft. This rocket fuel and propellant is extremely powerful and can be quite dangerous to handle. In order for the Apollo 11 rockets to properly fire, the oxidizer, Nitrogen Tetroxide, was used. It created and released oxygen with the fuel for the rockets to fire and combustion to take place.

Since the Apollo 11th mission 50 years ago, scientists have found many health concerns affecting their astronauts. A critical gas is when the gas temperature increases due to kinetic energy reaches a certain temperature and it cannot turn into a liquid. One main health concern they found was heart disease being more prevalent among flight astronauts than in non-flight astronauts. According to researchers from Florida State University, the number of heart disease related deaths, is five times greater in Apollo lunar astronauts than those who have never flown space missions. Another health concern is their exposure to ionizing radiation. Apollo lunar astronauts were the only humans to travel outside of the earth’s geomagnetic field. These individuals went outside of the magnetosphere, which causes galactic cosmic rays and solar particles to deflect from earth. The radiation experienced by astronauts impacted the heart problems that these astronauts faced. This radiation exposure can also cause DNA damage to tissues that cannot effectively have the ability to repair themselves later. Hearing loss was another health concern reported with the Apollo 11 astronauts as well as vision problems. During the Apollo 11 mission, 301 infectious diseases were reported. The diseases that were prevalent the most were upper respiratory infections, influenza, gastroenteritis, genitourinary, superficial fungal dermatitis, and sinusitis. The Apollo 11 crew was quarantined when they returned due to health professionals worry about infectious diseases, and lunar bugs they could be carrying back home. This quarantine was more for precaution manners.

31 October 2020
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