The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Community News Network

January 9, 2013

Mars mission could turn astronauts into couch potatoes

(Continued)

The unnatural conditions of future space journeys have to better emulate the natural qualities of life on Earth, Dinges says. For example, the fluorescent lighting in the Mars500 chamber mostly emitted wavelengths in the green and yellow part of the visible light spectrum, but not much blue. Blue light is important, Dinges notes, because the light from the Earth's natural dawn is largely blue and signals the brain that it's time to wake up. The crew would also have to hold a tight schedule for meals and physical activity.

The sleep times of the Mars500 crew were not quite synchronized, which would increase the risk of accidents. "Imagine a watch that's running 24 hours and 20 seconds a day and another that's got a 24-hour day exactly," says Dinges. "Over time, those two watches will go completely out of sync, and that's what we want to make sure doesn't happen to a crew." One crewman seemed chronically sleep deprived, the researchers noted, sleeping less as the simulation progressed and reporting poor-quality sleep throughout the whole mission. Another crew member's sleeping habits went completely off schedule. He lived on a 25-hour sleep-wake cycle and frequently snoozed while the rest of the crew was awake.

The findings show that agencies recruiting astronauts for such a long mission should take their candidates' established sleep habits into account, says physiologist Derk-Jan Dijk of the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom, who was not involved with the study. "You definitely want to be sure that these people, while going about their normal lives, are not already extreme late sleepers, for example."

- - -

This is adapted from ScienceNOW, the online daily news service of the journal Science. http://news.sciencemag.org

Text Only
Community News Network
E-edition
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
NDN Video
Under Armour Launches Biggest Women's Campaign with Inspiring Ad NYPD chokehold death of Eric Garner was homicide: medical examiner Christina Aguilera Pulls a Demi Moore! Man with no arms throws first pitch Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Is Justin Bieber Dating a Model? Guardians of the Galaxy (Trailer) 'Sharknado 2:' Hottest Memes Surfing The Net Snoop Dogg Narrating Animal Footage Is Perfect Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian Recapping a Blockbuster MLB Trade Deadline Tigers Acquire David Price - @TheBuzzeronFOX Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2"
Must Read