Long Term Space Missions Increase Astronaut’s Body Temperature, Study Finds

Posted: Jan 7 2018, 2:39pm CST | by , Updated: Jan 7 2018, 2:43pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

Long Term Space Missions Increase Astronaut’s Body Temperature, Study Finds
Credit: NASA

Researchers have observed that astronauts run hot when exposed to weightlessness

Astronauts who spend long time in space could suffer a strange kind of fever.

Researchers have found that long-term space missions affect our core body temperature. Because of extended exposure to weightlessness, astronauts have a body temperature approximately 1°C above the normal value of 37°C.

Space is a hostile and isolated place. Under microgravity conditions of space, astronauts have reported feeling hot since the earliest days of spaceflight. Especially during exercise, they experience a type of persistent fever.

To investigate, researchers used forehead sensors to measure the astronauts' core body temperature before, during and after their stays on the International Space Station and took readings both at rest and during exercise. They found that the astronauts' core body temperature did not increase suddenly. It developed gradually over 2.5 months and eventually reached approximately 38°C.

“We developed a new technology which combines a skin surface temperature sensor with a heat flux sensor, and which is capable of measuring even minor changes in arterial blood temperature,” explained lead researcher Dr. Hanns-Christian Gunga, Deputy Director of the Institute of Physiology.

"Under weightless conditions, our bodies find it extremely difficult to eliminate excess heat. The transfer of heat between the body and its environment becomes significantly more challenging in these conditions.”

As NASA prepares for deep space travel, astronauts will also face increased, prolonged exposure to weightlessness. Researchers hope that the new findings will have positive implications for the health and well-being of astronauts during long-term space missions.

“We concluded that, within the limits of a spaceflight experiment, these increases might be related to persistent low-grade pro-inflammatory responses to weightlessness, strenuous exercise protocols, radiation, psychological stress-induced hyperthermia or a combination thereof,” authors wrote in the study.

“Irrespective of its underlying causes, this space fever, as we may call it, has potential implications for long-term spaceflights in terms of astronauts’ health, well-being, and support, including energy, nutrient, and fluid requirements as well as physical and cognitive performance.”

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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