The new ISS crew is testing safety glasses that can be used in the future to maintain vision during long flights
Perhaps people have already been born who are the first to step on the surface of Mars. As man’s flight to the Red Planet becomes more and more realistic, we must foresee any trifle, any situation in which something can go wrong during a long journey to Mars and back to Earth, extremetech writes . For example, what if the people sent to Mars at the time of arrival lose their sight and cannot see anything? Agree, that would be a huge problem.
We have already learned about a number of negative effects that occur during prolonged exposure to zero gravity. For example, astronauts on the ISS need to train daily to maintain muscle mass and bone density, which quickly atrophy in space and become fragile. This problem is quite simple to solve, but the destructive effect of the conditions in space on vision is much more unpleasant.
The National Space Biomedicine Research Institute (NSBRI) recently received funding from three companies to develop its manned mission to Mars program. A new development can help maintain visual acuity during long space missions. It combines three technologies: an ophthalmoscope with a redina display, glasses for regulating pressure and interchangeable lenses, which are easy to choose according to vision. Testing of the entire set will begin with the new ISS crew in the coming months.
NASA has been aware for decades that under microgravity conditions the eye changes its shape a little, which can lead to visual impairment. However, only in recent years it became apparent that this problem is neither temporary nor easy in terms of its solution. All ISS crew members undergo a medical commission after returning to earth. Some astronauts revealed a real (measurable) visual impairment. Scientists believe that the reason for this lies in an increase in intracranial pressure in the conditions of orbital microgravity, because the liquid in the spinal pools on the earth is attracted downward. It is unlikely that anything other than the creation of artificial gravity will be able to eliminate this problem, but scientists may try to create a technology that partially compensates for damage to eyesight while in space.
Ophthalmoscope was developed by Annidis Inc. and can receive an image of the retina with sufficient sharpness without invasive procedures. This is the main tool in studying and tracking the effect of weightlessness on the anatomy of the eye. The developed glasses are designed to control and stabilize eye pressure and can compensate for damage caused by increased intracranial pressure. If vision deteriorates during a long flight, for example, to Mars, the glasses can be adjusted.
The technological solutions described will be tested by NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko during their historic mission to the ISS for a year. Their long stay at the station will be used, among other things, to assess not only the general consequences of a long-term stay in space on the human body (previously the duration of the crew’s stay on the ISS did not exceed 6 months), but also the effect of microgravity on vision.