This study assessed the intrapersonal and interpersonal functioning of a three-couple expedition group that included a 2 1/2-year-old child which was ice-locked on a boat in the High Arctic during a major portion of the expedition. Personality assessment indicated that team members were generally well adjusted, scoring relatively higher on well-being and achievement and relatively lower on stress reactivity. Weekly mood ratings showed that the group exhibited significantly higher positive than negative affect. Reported negative events were relatively most frequent at the beginning of the Arctic stay and toward the end of the darkness period and were lowest during the initial darkness interval. The period of darkness had both a salutary and negative impact. A highly important means of coping with stress was seeking emotional support from one's partner. Selection of couples with strong bonds with their partner appears to be one viable approach for crew selection for long-duration missions.
The paper considers in retrospective the criteria of radiation hazard during space flight, and approaches to safeguarding the radiation safety to crew members adopted in a sequence of Russian and US standards defining the space radiation limits. Based on comparison of the magnitudes of radiation risk in space flight, total radiation risk over lifetime, the risk of fatal cancer, and risk relation to age, the most meaningful and age-independent criterion has been chosen to set limits and admissible total doses over cosmonaut's career. Justification is given to the range of these doses that still ensures socially acceptable levels of health and performance by the end of space career. Impliable dose limits for critical tissues (blood-forming organs, skin, lenticular epithelium) in consequence of a single acute or continuous exposure for a month, a year or career are discussed.
Astronauts are classified as radiation workers due to the presence of ionizing radiation in space. For the assessment of health risks, physical dosimetry has been indispensable. However, the change of the location of dosimeters on the crew members, the variation in dose rate with location inside the spacecraft and the unknown biological effects of microgravity can introduce significant uncertainties in estimating exposure. To circumvent such uncertainty, a study on the cytogenetic effects of space radiation in human lymphocytes was proposed and conducted for Mir-18, a 115-day mission. This study used fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with whole-chromosome painting probes to score chromosomal exchanges and the Giemsa staining method to determine the frequency of dicentrics. The growth kinetics of cells and sister chromatid exchanges (SCEs) were examined to ensure that chromosomal aberrations were scored in the first mitosis and were induced primarily by space radiation. Our results showed that the frequency of chromosomal aberrations increased significantly in postflight samples compared to samples drawn prior to flight, and that the frequency of SCEs was similar for both pre- and postflight samples. Based on a dose-response curve for preflight samples exposed to gamma rays, the absorbed dose received by crew members during the mission was estimated to be about 14.75 cSv. Because the absorbed dose measured by physical dosimeters is 5.2 cGy for the entire mission, the RBE is about 2.8.
Exploration Class missions to Mars will require precautions against potential contamination by any native microorganisms that may be incidentally pathogenic to humans. While the results of NASA's Viking biology experiments of the 1970s have been generally interpreted as inconclusive for surface organisms, and attributed to active but nonbiological chemistries, the possibility of native surface life has never been ruled out completely. It is possible that, prior to the first human landing on Mars, robotic craft and sample return missions will provide enough data to know with certainty whether future human landing sites harbor extant life forms. If native life were found to exist, it would be problematic to determine whether any of its species might present a medical danger to astronauts. Therefore, it will become necessary to assess empirically the risk that the planet contains pathogens based on terrestrial examples of pathogenicity and to take a reasonably cautious approach to biohazard protection. A survey of terrestrial pathogens was conducted with special emphasis on those whose evolution has not depended on the presence of animal hosts. The history of the development and implementation of Apollo anti-contamination protocol and recommendations of the National Research Council's Space Studies Board regarding Mars were reviewed. Organisms can emerge in Nature in the absence of indigenous animal hosts and both infectious and non-infectious human pathogens are therefore theoretically possible on Mars. Although remote, the prospect of Martian surface life, together with the existence of a diversity of routes by which pathogenicity has emerged on Earth, suggests that the probability of human pathogens on Mars, while low, is not zero. Still, since the discovery and study of Martian life can have long-term benefits for humanity, the risk that Martian life might include pathogens should not be an obstacle to human exploration. As a precaution, it is recommended that EVA (extravehicular activity) suits be decontaminated when astronauts enter surface habitats upon returning from field activity and that biosafety protocols approximating laboratory BSL 2 be developed for astronauts working in laboratories on the Martian surface. Quarantine of astronauts and Martian materials arriving on Earth should also be part of a human mission to Mars, and this and the surface biosafety program should be integral to human expeditions from the earliest stages of the mission planning.
Large uncertainties are associated with estimates of equivalent dose and cancer risk for crews of long-term space missions. Biological dosimetry in astronauts is emerging as a useful technique to compare predictions based on quality factors and risk coefficients with actual measurements of biological damage in-flight. In the present study, chromosomal aberrations were analyzed in one Italian and eight Russian cosmonauts following missions of different duration on the MIR and the international space station (ISS). We used the technique of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) to visualize translocations in chromosomes 1 and 2. In some cases, an increase in chromosome damage was observed after flight, but no correlation could be found between chromosome damage and flight history, in terms of number of flights at the time of sampling, duration in space and extra-vehicular activity. Blood samples from one of the cosmonauts were exposed in vitro to 6 MeV X-rays both before and after the flight. An enhancement in radiosensitivity induced by the spaceflight was observed.
Researchers tested a hypothesis that astronauts can become more proficient in training for tasks during space flight by training in a high gravity suit. Computer image analysis of movements, tensodynamography, and myotonometry were used to analyze movement in the hypergravity suit, muscle response, and other biomechanical factors. Results showed that training in the hypergravity suit improved the biomechanics of motor performance.
Doses from space ionizing radiation were estimated using a model of ISS cosmonaut's quarters (CQ) outfitted with secondary shielding ("Protective shutter" (PS) as part of experiment MATRYOSHKA-R). Protective shutter is a "blanket" of water-containing material with mass thickness of - 6 g/cm2 covering the CQ exterior wall. Calculation was performed specifically for locations of experimental dosimetry assemblies. Agreement of calculations and experimental data reaching accuracy - 15% proves model applicability to estimating protective effectiveness of secondary shielding in the present-day and future space vehicles. This shielding may reduce radiation loading onto crewmembers as an equivalent dose by more than 40% within a broad range of orbit altitudes equally during the solar minimum and maximum.
Bubble Technology Industries Inc. (BTI), with the support of the Canadian Space Agency, has finished the construction of the Canadian High-Energy Neutron Spectrometry System (CHENSS). This spectrometer is intended to measure the high energy neutron spectrum (approximately 1-100 MeV) encountered in spacecraft in low earth orbit. CHENSS is designed to fly aboard a US space shuttle and its scientific results should facilitate the prediction of neutron dose to astronauts in space from readings of different types of radiation dosimeters that are being used in various missions.