After spending an extended period of time in space, astronauts may come across more severe health problems as a study shows that a journey to Mars may prove to be more dangerous than originally thought. These problems include and are not limited to brain cancer and an assortment of problems similar to the issues that people of an old age encounter, such as cataracts, weakened bone structure, muscular atrophy.
These studies are starting to become more and more important due to the recent interest that NASA has in hiring new personnel to send into space aboard the International Space Station and the expedition to Mars. The Martian expedition is still set to start in 2030, with the hope that the health hazards will be solved until then.
Most of these health problems come from the prolonged exposure to a microgravity environment. The human body has evolved in such a way to resist to the gravity of earth, and any small changes in the environment may prove even fatal if exposed for an extended period.Problems such as muscular atrophy and weakened bone structure can be countered with a strict regimen of exercise (cycling, jogging on a treadmill, weight lifting) and an appropriate diet.
But even if you bypass the physical damage that space has on the human body, there is still the psychological issue that comes with the extreme isolation. Even though you are part of a team and you can still communicate with the people you left on Earth (even for brief periods of time) you are still pretty much alone out there. This is why after returning to earth, astronauts are subjected to therapy in order to facilitate their return to a normal lifestyle.
One of the most common problems that astronauts returning to earth face is their reintegration into an environment with a higher gravity than what they were accustomed to on the ISS (letting things fall to the ground because the think that they will remain floating in mid-air because of the lack of gravity). Some other problems refer to the actual chemistry of the brain, this being affected by the cosmic radiation that constantly bombards the shuttle or the actual space station and also the lack of time awareness, thus leading to a disturbed sleeping schedule(there is no actual night in space).
All of these problems that the new NASA space recruits will face may lead to a more careful approach when tackling the idea of going into space since a journey to Mars may prove to be more dangerous than originally thought.