It was such a disaster it led to a crew mutiny, which banned the team from ever entering space again.
Take your protein pill and put your helmet on
Volker’s team sent up two medicines: ibuprofen and vitamin C.
“No medicine survives in space longer than 1 year. Many don’t last that long,” Volker says.
This is a big problem for future Mars trips. Astronauts would run out of medicine a third of the way there.
Once Volker understands how these medicines are affected by radiation, he wants to find ways to make them last longer or even make them in space.
Ibuprofen is one of the most commonly used drugs in the world. It’s a market that makes US$294.4 million per year with millions of tablets being manufactured.
It’s a great starting point. It’s versatile, easy to make and is already the subject of decades of research.
“There’s a lot of research on radiation’s effects on ibuprofen because we try to decompose it to reduce its environmental impact here on Earth. We know its lasting effects in water contamination, which is important when you’re reusing water in space,” Volker Hessel says.
The main goal of Volker’s research is to see what effects space has on ibuprofen tablets. There are two parts to the mission, with tablets sent up to the ISS last year and early this year.
One set of tablets is inside the ISS while one is outside the station, exposed to solar radiation.
Both samples will return to Earth for Volker to test their radiation decay.
“Because of the cost of space, we could only bring 60 tablets. So we’re continuing experiments on Earth, trying to replicate space conditions.”
On Earth, ibuprofen is made by decomposing and refining petroleum to produce two different chemical molecules: benzene and propylene.
This article first appeared on Particle, a science news website based at Scitech, Perth, Australia. Read the original article.
Citation: Popping pills in space: Helping astronauts manage pain or sickness on crewed missions (2021, April 14) retrieved 14 April 2021 from https://phys.org/news/2021-04-pills-space-astronauts-pain-sickness.html
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