The Challenges of Living in Space

Living in Space has many different problems and complications that are needed to be overcome before space travel and living is economically and biologically viable. Some of these problems include the effects of weightlessness or microgravity, Fitness, general wellbeing and health, air, water electricity, heat, radiation and the construction of space stations and spaceships.

Weightlessness, fitness and health are a major problem in space. Weightlessness or microgravity affects general health and fitness because it reduces the amount of effort required to do simple tasks and even simple things we don’t think about are affected like our heart beating, our lungs breathing even walking and even our digestion system. Over long periods of time in space muscle density of our bones, and minerals are slowly sapped from making bones making them weak and brittle. These are only a couple of the health problems which can be experienced in space ignoring the damaging the effects of radiation and heat in both deep space and orbit alike.

On earth we are protected by the atmosphere which absorbs most of the harmful radiation and helps even out the temperature on the earth’s surface. However in space you don’t have this protection and therefore you will get burnt to a crisp on one side while being frozen stiff on the other. The temperatures in space have a huge temperature range (250C -150C). This simple problem is simple to overcome with insulation and water cooling suits. However high-energy radiation is just as dangerous if not more so and cannot be overcome quite so easily. This high-energy radiation can cause cancer, deformations, mutations and alter sex-cells. Because of this spacesuits are made to reflect and block as much radiation as possible. Space-stations and spaceships are both designed to combat these dangers.

The design of spaceships and space stations must dispense of, Oxygen, Air and electricity. Air is generally kept with similar properties as its counterpart on the planet at about 1000hPa. Likewise the composition of the air is kept at about 79% nitrogen and 21%oxergen. This is a challenge because of carbon dioxide which is given-off as a by-product of respiration. Excess carbon dioxide may cause fatigue and drowsiness in humans which can be harmful to the crew. For this reason lithium hydroxide is kept in canisters. Lithium hydroxide absorbs carbon dioxide and has a by-product of lithium hydrogen carbonate and water vapour. My Other canisters containing active charcoal witch react with other gases in the air removing odours. The electricity in space stations is provided by means of solar power and hydrogen fuel cells, hydrogen fuels cells work by controlling the reaction between oxygen and hydrogen harnessing the heat and making electricity and water as a by-product. The water made is about 3 litres per hour. The water-by product is used for drinking, washing, toiletries and maintaining the humidity at a constant 55%. Any excess water is dumped over bored.

These factors account for jus a few of the problems of getting low cost space flights and having people live in space. other factors may include that it cost about $40,000 for every kilogram sent into space via the space shuttle excluding insurance. This cost includes the weight of the shuttle, crew and fuel.

In conclusion space has many complex problems which need to be over come. These include the cost, health, administrative, and technical factors. Space is not economically viable and should be forgotten until more efficient methods are found.