News / Science & Technology

Astronauts on Long Space Missions Will Need Earth-like Sleep Habits

Astronaut Piers Sellers, STS-132 rests in his sleeping bag on the middeck of the space shuttle Atlantis in this photo provided by NASA and taken May 17, 2010.Astronaut Piers Sellers, STS-132 rests in his sleeping bag on the middeck of the space shuttle Atlantis in this photo provided by NASA and taken May 17, 2010.
x
Astronaut Piers Sellers, STS-132 rests in his sleeping bag on the middeck of the space shuttle Atlantis in this photo provided by NASA and taken May 17, 2010.
Astronaut Piers Sellers, STS-132 rests in his sleeping bag on the middeck of the space shuttle Atlantis in this photo provided by NASA and taken May 17, 2010.
VOA News
There is nothing like a regular sleep schedule to keep you healthy, especially on a long voyage to Mars.
 
On June 3, 2010, a six-man team of international volunteers was sealed into a 550-cubic-meter spacecraft-like compartment at a Russian Academy of Sciences facility to simulate a 520-day round-trip mission to the Red Planet.
 
During the project, sponsored in part by the European Space Agency, the 'crew' conducted experiments and scenarios to collect psychological and medical data on the effect of long-term deep-space flight.
 
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Baylor College of Medicine analyzed the data in a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  They found that the crew became more sedentary as the months passed, and most of them also experienced a decrease in the quality of their sleep and alertness. 
 
Co-lead author Mathias Basner says that demonstrates the need to ensure that Earth's natural circadian rhythm is artificially simulated in future spacecraft and planetary habitats, so crew members can maintain a normal and healthy sleep-wake cycle. 
 
The findings are also applicable here on Earth, where many people in industrialized countries have sedentary lifestyles, as well as disrupted sleep patterns because of work and school schedules.  Co-lead author David Dinges notes "the human body's need for sleep is as essential as our need for food and water."
 

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Idonwanna Tellya
January 07, 2013 6:08 PM
Are my tax dollars going toward this study/project? If so, I think we have better things to do than play Buck Rogers... What a waste.

In Response

by: Rick from: Italy
January 10, 2013 1:03 PM
a small step for (a) man
a giant "sleep" for mankind

In Response

by: Mark Galvin from: Liverpool, UK
January 07, 2013 9:08 PM
Despite what some people may think, this is important research. By investigating the effects of long-term space missions on humans we can be much better prepared when the time actually comes.
In addition, this particular experiment is quite significant to me - I have a rare circadian rhythm condition called Hypernychthemeral Disorder (also known by the easier to spell "Non-24"), which means my body-clock isn't the usual 24-hours or so.
The effect to me is what it would be to you if Daylight Savings Time was added every single day, for the rest of your life, and never put back.
If this research leads to a way to alter circadian rhythms in mammals then I and the other sufferers of this and related conditions have hope of an effective treatment, or even a cure, and we may regain the quality of living that the rest of the world takes for granted.
So, even if tax dollars are going towards this project, no, it's not a waste, as it may lead to applications in unexpected areas, such as medicine.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid