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How Do Astronauts Sleep?

Our body has a biological system that works in a certain order throughout the day. This pattern is called circadian rhythm. The fact that the sleep states that come with our biological clock occur periodically during the day depends on the circadian rhythm. In short, it regulates our sleep-wake cycle. Circadian rhythm is regulated according to daylight, that is, the 24-hour cycle. If there is a disruption in the circadian rhythm, many problems arise, especially sleep problems.

Circadian Rhythm

How Does Sleep-Wake State Change During a Space Mission?

Each astronaut has his own sleeping station. They have special areas for their personal belongings, such as pillows, sleeping bags, etc. It has various items such as. In addition, we try not to include any factors in the sleep station that would delay falling asleep or affect the circadian rhythm.
As for the sleeping conditions of the Astronauts in the station; There is a 24-hour cycle that our biological system is accustomed to for sleep, and since such a cycle does not exist in space, it is normal for them to encounter various sleep problems. NASA is taking precautions by providing training for astronauts. Another precaution is to keep astronauts on a regular schedule so that they can maintain their existing circadian rhythms. There are sleep programs specially prepared just for them. They may also use caffeine and sleeping pills when necessary. Finally, they use a special lighting system. In this way, they facilitate situations such as falling asleep and maintaining wakefulness.

Astronaut Sleep Schedule

One of Perseverance’s Eyes: SuperCam

Location of the device on the rover

We continue to get to know the devices on NASA’s Mars rover Perseverance. SuperCam examines rocks and soil with cameras, lasers and spectrometers to look for chemicals that may be related to past life on Mars. SuperCam, whose main mission is to examine and identify the chemicals and atomic structures in rocks and soil, can detect the chemical and mineral structures of very small areas on Mars from a distance of 7 meters. This allows examining places that Perseverance cannot reach with its robotic arm. SuperCam, located at the top of the mast on the rover’s main body, can transfer 15.5 megabits of data per experiment or 4.2 megabits per day.

Principal investigator Roger Wiens says the following about SuperCam’s laser: “SuperCam’s laser has the unique ability to remotely clear surface dust, allowing all of its instruments to see targets clearly.”

SuperCam can also take color images and record Martian sounds. He recorded the first sounds, consisting of wind, dust storms and Perseverance’s sounds, with the microphone on him. In addition, it helps MEDA make weather and dust forecasts by investigating how atmospheric molecules, water ice and dust absorb or reflect sunlight.

Our Galaxy Was Used Like a Telescope for Observation

Big Bang and Formations The universe, as we know, came into existence with the Big Bang. After this explosion, the universe began to expand, forming various clouds of gas and dust. These clouds came together under the influence of gravity and formed denser regions, and a kind of space evolution began to occur. Our galaxy continues to be a very important part of this evolution. Scientists used our galaxy as a telescope to observe the early days of the universe and the birth and change of cosmic objects. How did this happen?
After the Big Bang, which is assumed to have occurred billions of years ago, the Universe was filled with a cloud of neutral gas. These gas clouds, known as DLA (Damped lyman-a systems), contained gases and the gases inside slowly condensed and became a home for stellar life. “DLAs are key to how galaxies form in the universe,” said Rongmon Bordoloi, a physical scientist at North Carolina State University. He emphasized the importance of DLAs. But he added that because the gas clouds in question are so dense and dispersed and do not emit any light, they can often be difficult to observe. It is difficult to determine their total length and mass with certainty. In a new study, Bordoloi and his colleagues used an innovative method to examine two DLAs and the galaxies within them, which formed about 11 billion years ago, with telescopes at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii.

A sample of a gas cloud

This was a method that worked when any celestial object they were investigating was aligned between the observer and the galaxy. They were using the galaxy as a telescope. In this method they used, the gravitational force of the galaxy created a lens effect. This made the object that astronomers wanted to examine appear clearer and brighter. They could observe the object more clearly. They called this method Mass Lensing. Using the method, the team managed to observe two DLA clouds. As a result, they determined that both gas clouds host galaxies.

The Headache Effect of Space on Astronauts

Space travel and zero gravity may have some effects on the body. A study published in the journal Neurology found that astronauts with no previous history of headaches may experience migraine-type and tension-type headaches during space flights lasting more than 10 days in space. “Changes in gravity caused by spaceflight affect the function of many parts of the body, including the brain. The vestibular system, which affects balance and posture, is responsible for the signals it receives versus the signals it expects to receive in the absence of normal gravity,” said study author WPJ van Oosterhout, of Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands. “It has to adapt to the conflict between real signals. This can lead to motion sickness in space in the first week. The most commonly reported symptom is headache. Our study shows that headaches also occur in the later stages of space flight and may be related to the increase in pressure inside the skull.”

24 astronauts from the European Space Agency, NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency participated in the study. Before the study, nine astronauts reported never having experienced a headache, and three astronauts reported experiencing a headache that interfered with daily activities in the past year. None of them had been diagnosed with migraine. Before the flight, the astronauts completed health screenings and a survey about their headache history. During the spaceflight, astronauts completed a daily survey for the first seven days of their stay on the space station and a weekly survey each subsequent week. 378 in-flight headaches were reported by astronauts. 90% of the total headaches were tension-type headaches and 10% were migraines. It was also determined that headaches were more intense and more likely to be migraine-like during the first week of spaceflight. “Further research is needed to uncover the underlying causes of space headaches and to explore how such discoveries might shed light on headaches that occur on Earth,” van Oosterhout said. Additionally, more effective treatments need to be developed to combat space headaches. “Because this is a big problem for many astronauts during space flights,” he said. To read the full article:

This Week In Our Art Corner

This week, we wanted to include the Dune series in our art corner, as the 2nd movie has just been released. The first movie of 2021 in the book series written by Frank Herbert managed to attract attention with its subject. Paul Atreides is the focus of the film, which deals with a very intense heroic journey. With his talented personality and strong instincts, Paul’s fate will be very different and he will realize that he has a mission that determines the fate of all humanity in his journey to the most dangerous planet of the universe in order to secure his people. Meanwhile, the war for the resources of Planet Dune will begin.

The second movie of the series tells the story of Paul, who returns with a passion for revenge against the conspirators. In this process, Paul will form an alliance with Chani and the Fremen, but Paul will face a choice between the love of his life and the fate of the universe. Herbert has created a magnificent series of works with his imagination. The big screen adaptation was also great. Both films managed to make quite a splash when they were released, with their fluidity and immersiveness. We recommend you watch it.