Day trip to the moon, anyone? Scientists say the average person would be "fine" in space

Sarah Spickernell
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Astronauts keep in shape on the ISS treadmill (Source: Getty)

Astronauts are a very healthy bunch – before being sent up into space they must go through rigorous physical training and pass a multitude of medical tests.

Even when on a mission there's no respite – the International Space Station is equipped with its very own treadmill to keep them in tip top form at all times.
But what would happen to those of us less endowed with excellent health if they flew beyond Earth's atmosphere? Would our inferior strength make us implode, explode, or fall unconscious?
We can now rest assured that no such things would happen, after a group of medical researchers at the University of Texas conducted experiments to find out how people with common medical problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease would fare on a commercial spaceflight.
Some medical conditions have been of particular concern either because of the high rate of occurrence or because of the potential to cause sudden, serious medical events. The researchers studied how people with these common conditions coped when put through simulations of spaceflight launch and re-entry to the earth's atmosphere.
In their paper, published in the journal Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine, the researchers conclude that even those with the trickiest medical conditions can safely take a trip into space if monitored properly.
"Our goal was to see how average people with common medical problems, who aren't necessarily as fit as a career astronaut, would be able to tolerate these stresses of an anticipated commercial spaceflight,” said lead author Rebecca Blue.
Until now, there has been very little information available about the risk of sending those with certain medical conditions or diseases into space, but the importance of understanding these risks has increased significantly recently - for the first time, spaceflight is no longer the preserve of the very wealthy. With the advent of commercial spaceflight, even averagely paid people will soon be able to embark upon a spaceship.
"This study further supports the belief that, despite significant chronic medical conditions, the dream of spaceflight is one that most people can achieve," said Blue.

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