What NASA Says

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What NASA Says

There is no universal protocol for death in space, and each differs depending on the purpose and type of death.

Ever since man began space travel, 60 years ago, 20 people died: 14 astronauts in the 1986 and 2003 NASA space shuttle Challenger tragedies, 3 astronauts during the 1971 Soyuz 11 mission, and 3 astronauts in the 1967 Apollo 1 launch pad fire. However, surprisingly no deaths have been reported till date. in space, That means out of the plane.

“Given how complicated space travel is, it’s remarkable that so few people have lost their lives so far,” he observes in an article. Conversation Emmanuel Urquieta, professor of aerospace medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. Apart from this, the expert points out that as these journeys become more common, the chance of someone dying far away from Earth also increases.

However, that is the truth There is no single universal protocol Death in space, and every Varies depending on the purpose and type of death.

Drop into Earth orbit or Mars

In case of death In Earth’s orbit This is possible on the ISS at a distance of less or 400 kilometers The body is returned in a capsule In a few hours. If that event occurs in the moon, the crew may return in a few days. As Urquieta explains, NASA has already established protocols for various situations.

“Preservation of the body is not NASA’s primary concern. Rather, the number one priority is to ensure safety The rest of the crew must return safely”, notes the space doctor. Thus, the rules regarding death in space are about to change Depending on the distance from Earth it occurs.

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“Things are different if an astronaut dies During the Martian Voyage”Urgieta says about this. In that case, the survivors cannot go back. On the contrary, probably At the end of the mission the body returns to Earth. It may take years. Hence, it becomes important in such situations Preservation in a separate room or in special bags. In theory, a constant temperature and humidity inside the spacecraft would help protect the body. But all those scenarios only apply if someone dies In a stressful environmentLike a space station or a ship,” he explains.

What if an astronaut dies in space?

If he dies abroad, There will be no trace of his biological remains. Loss of pressure and exposure to vacuum renders the astronaut unable to breathe, so lBlood and other fluids begin to boil, Explodes the whole body.

Another doubt Urgieta explains:Could be buried on other surfaces, such as the Moon or Mars? “Obviously not, the crusts of these celestial bodies do not resemble Earth, so if someone were to bury their spouse in Martian soil, The planet’s surface is polluted.”

This is a risk that, no doubt, is part of the major concerns regarding future space tourism.

In addition to existing protocols, “there are more Many unknowns About how astronauts deal with death. Not only because of the question of what to do with the body, but How to deal with loss The need to comfort grieving families on earth,” concludes Expert.

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