MadSci Network: Medicine

Re: What would coriolis effects do to biological tissues on a space station?

Date: Tue Aug 24 06:44:10 1999
Posted By: Michael Martin-Smith, Other (pls. specify below), Family Physician, Fellow,BIS, amateur astronomer( BAA), British Interplanetary Society
Area of science: Medicine
ID: 935382853.Me

There has not been much longterm reseacrch so far into this . However 
the Soviets in the 1970's did some experiments onboard two linked Cosmos 
vehicles to simulate artificial gravity and found that it was beneficial 
in preventing the worst excesses of microgravity. For the longterm, in 
larger structures, much depends upon the rotation rate, in turn 
depending on the actual size and  design  of the habitat. Speeds of 
greater than one rev every 30 seconds are likely to cause dizziness and 
disorientation. As far as is known cells are unlikely to be distorted 
nor result in disease provided sufficiently comfortable conditions are 
provided. A forward sloping floor as well as rotation would be needed 
if coriolis effects proved important. Architectural design will be 
important  for psychological comfort as much as anything. 
 At any rate the effects on heart, muscle and bone mass, would be 
greatly reduced in artifical g over long term "zero" g. 
 Of course we do not yet know the minimal necessary g level for 
prevention of the major effects of zero g. 0.1, 0.3 or 0.5 g may prove 
quite sufficient to prevent muscle wasting or bone loss - but without a 
variable g lab in orbit this remains to be discovered. 

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