The Jakarta Post
Not a plane: The SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket rests on Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Feb. 5, 2018. A NASA astronaut has said that potential space tourists may be unaware of the physical tolls of space flight. (AFP/Jim Watson)
Thanks to aerospace companies like Virgin Galactic and SpaceX, space tourism has the potential to be the next "big thing".
But NASA astronaut Anna Fisher believes space tourists don’t quite understand the toll spaceflight will take on their bodies.
“The one thing I am concerned about with tourists in space is people thinking you can just get on a rocket and just go into space,” Fisher told The Telegraph.
“It’s not like riding a commercial aircraft, not at all, and I can see all these problems with people up there and throwing up and messing up somebody’s flight that they paid $250,000 for.”
Fisher, who is known for becoming the first mother in space, recalled her first trip to the stars. “Your first moments in space are not always your best. I remember when we were in the shuttle and you are at 3Gs for the last two minutes or so, and it’s a little hard to breathe and then the engine shuts off, and boom, you’re weightless, it’s that fast,” she said.
“I could feel the blood rushing and in 30 seconds I was going, ‘uh-oh’, I am going to be one of the ones who is not going to feel good and I was extremely grateful that I had eaten absolutely nothing for breakfast," Fisher recalled. "I was lucky I never threw up, because if you think throwing up is bad here on the ground, it’s really bad in space.”
It’s not just vomiting that can be a problem. Experts have long understood that time in microgravity can seriously impact one’s metabolism, heat regulation, heart rhythm, muscle tone, bone density, eyesight and respiration system.
A 2016 study also found that astronauts who had traveled into deep space on lunar missions were five times more likely to have died from cardiovascular disease than those who have never left Earth.
Still, there are some who seem undaunted by the potential risks. Actors like Angelina Jolie, Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio have already purchased tickets, and the late scientist Stephen Hawking had planned on taking a trip with Virgin Galactic. (sul/wng)