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Space & Astronomy

Apollo astronauts at risk of heart problems

By T.K. Randall
July 29, 2016 · Comment icon 11 comments

Venturing to the moon can have an adverse effect on your health. Image Credit: NASA
The astronauts who walked on the moon are up to five times more likely to die of cardiovascular disease.
A new study has revealed that the astronauts who ventured to the moon are much more likely to suffer from heart problems than those who have only ever traveled as far as low-Earth orbit.

Several of the astronauts who went to the moon as part of the Apollo program - including Neil Armstrong, James Irwin and Ronald Evans - have already died from heart-related conditions.

The culprit is radiation - a serious problem for any future deep space missions as there currently exists no effective way to shield astronauts from it once they leave the safety of the Earth.
Other health concerns, such as cancer, have also long been linked to radiation exposure.

"We know very little about the effects of deep space radiation on human health, particularly on the cardiovascular system," said Professor Michael Delp.

"This gives us the first glimpse into its adverse effects on humans."

Source: Telegraph | Comments (11)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by Derek Willis 8 years ago
Five of the twelve men who walked on the moon are now dead. If the other seven were to die tomorrow, the average life span of the twelve would be 79.4 years. The current life expectancy of American men of their generation is 76.9 years. Hence, on average, the "moon-walkers" have so far lived two and a half years longer than expected. And this will increase so long as the remaining seven are alive. This, I suppose, is because astronauts are healthier and have a better diet than the average American man. So, contrary to what the article says, walking on the Moon is, on average, good fo... [More]
Comment icon #3 Posted by Habitat 8 years ago
Seems like a hopelessly small sample, and really radiation is more associated with cancer than heart disease.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Blizno 8 years ago
Agreed. I believe all or most were also pilots. They might have had years of low-level exposure to aviation fuel as well as who knows what military chemicals. If they spent a lot of time at high altitude, they would have gotten a higher dose of radiation than those staying near sea level. It might be interesting to look at people who had similar careers but no space flight to see if there are any similarities. I just had a thought. Does blood pressure increase during high gs? I suspect that parts of the body see lower BP while other parts see much higher BP. Maybe repeated periods at high g ca... [More]
Comment icon #5 Posted by BeastieRunner 8 years ago
Weird ...
Comment icon #6 Posted by ROGER 8 years ago
As posted radiation increases with altitude . 
Comment icon #7 Posted by Noteverythingisaconspiracy 8 years ago
A quick look at the missions that was beyond LEO shows us the following: - Apollo 8: Borman, Lowell and Anders all still alive. - Apollo 10: Stafford, Young and Cernan all still alive. - Apollo 11: Aldrin and Collins still alive. Armstrong died after a bypass operation. - Apollo 12: Gordon and Bean still alive. Conrad died in a motorcycle accident. - Apollo 13: Lowell and Haise still alive. Swigert died of cancer. - Apollo14: Sheppard and Roose died from leukemia and pancreatitis respectively. Mitchell died in his sleep. - Apollo 15: Scott and Worden still alive. Irwin died of a heart attack... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by Derek Willis 8 years ago
There is an almost silly irony to the article. The photograph shows (I think) Buzz Aldrin climbing down onto the Moon during Apollo 11. I once read that Aldrin had privately calculated the odds of himself and Armstrong being killed during the landing or being stranded on the Moon to be one in three. But for men like Aldrin - former fighter pilots and test pilots - those odds were acceptable. So, I think if they had been told that when they were old men they would have an increased likelihood of succumbing to heart disease, they would have found that laughingly ironic. Aldrin is now eighty si... [More]
Comment icon #9 Posted by Noteverythingisaconspiracy 8 years ago
This made me think of this quote from astronaut Gus Grissom, who later died in the Apollo 1 fire: "If we die, we want people to accept it. We are in a risky business, and we hope that if anything happens to us it will not delay the program. The conquest of space is worth the risk of life." 
Comment icon #10 Posted by paperdyer 8 years ago
I just hope this study wasn't done to stifle space exploration by some group that thinks we should stay here.  It could be another group just looking for grant money to examine the effect of radiation on the heart of mice.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 8 years ago
If you had read the original article you would have read this: (My emphasis).

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