Why can't astronauts drink in space?

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2017-02-23 09:00:12

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Why can't astronauts drink in space?

Wine on the moon... Whisky on the space station... Reading as a child is not most children's books about space pirates, Rangers and other daredevils, I didn't think that drinking in space is not allowed. And really, space travel is long and complex relationship with booze. To go thousands of miles away from the Earth into the gray abyss of the unknown is not so easy. Scary. Hard. Why would astronauts not to relax at the end of the day, had a drink or two?

Alas, for lovers of space and wet your lips strong, the consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited by state authorities, who send astronauts, for example, to the International space station. But soon to go on the last line will be able and an ordinary person — for example, for the colonization of Mars. Obviously, the booze should be allowed for such a long and painful trip in one end that will last for years? Or at least the equipment for self-production of alcohol on the planet?

Drinking and outer space have a long and complicated relationship. Let's see what can happen to a normal drinker, astronaut, and what can happen if we start to send into space regular drinkers.

It is Widely believed that at high altitude dizzy and to the state of nausea you get faster. Thus, it would be logical to assume that alcohol in orbit will have very strong effects on the human body. But that's not true.

This myth was debunked in the 1980-ies. In 1985, the Federal aviation administration of the USA conducted a study that examined the behavior of people drinking alcohol on simulated altitudes, in the process of performing complex tasks and measurements breathalyzers.

In the study, 17 men were asked to drink a little vodka on the ground level in the chamber, simulating the altitude of 3.7 km. Then asked to perform a number of tasks, including calculations in mind, the tracking light on the oscilloscope with the joystick and others. The researchers concluded that "no interactive effect of alcohol and altitude no breathalyzers, no performance evaluation was not shown."

So, it is a myth that during the flight, become drunk faster? Dave Hanson, Professor Emeritus of sociology at the state University of new York at Potsdam, studied alcohol and drinking it for 40 years, thinks so. "I can't imagine that space getting drunk as something different," he says.

However, he also thinks that altitude sickness can mimic a hangover, but also mimic intoxication. "If people are not adequately feel under pressure, they can feel and in a state of alcoholic intoxication". Conversely, people who claim that getting drunk on the plane faster than usual, you can just show a specific behavior. Such people demonstrate the behavior of drunken stronger when I think drunk, not because he actually consumed alcohol.

"If people are flying on the plane and I think that for some reason alcohol has on them an unusual effect, they will think that he has an unusual effect," says Hanson.

So, if no additional effect, you can taste a little strong on the ISS? No, you can't.

"Alcohol on Board the International space station is prohibited for use," says Daniel Huot, the representative of the Space center. Johnson. "The use of alcohol and other volatile components is controlled on the ISS due to the impact that their components can have on the recovery of water at the station."

For this reason, astronauts on the space station don't even get any products that contain alcohol like liquid mouthwash, perfumes, lotions, shaving. Spilled beer on Board, too, can become a serious risk of damage to the equipment.

There is also the question of responsibility. We do not allow drivers or pilots of jet fighters get drunk and get behind the wheel, so it's no surprise that the same rules apply to astronauts inside the space station at 150 billion dollars, floating around the Earth with a giant speed.

However, in 2007, an independent panel created by NASA, studied the health of astronauts and came to the conclusion that in the history of the Agency, there were at least two astronauts that have taken large amounts of alcohol directly before the flight, but was allowed to fly. The subsequent Chapter overview security of NASA found no evidence to substantiate claims. Astronauts are strictly forbidden to drink 12 hours before flying, as these will require full presence of mind and body.

The Reason for these rules is clear. In the same study, the FAA from 1985 on the subject of effects of alcohol at altitude, scientists came to the conclusion that every extra milligram. Regardless of the height at which the subjects drank, the performance of breathalyzer were the same. Their performance also suffered equally, but those who took placebo at the height shown results worse than those who took a placebo on the level of the land. This suggests that the height, regardless of alcohol consumption, may have little effect on mental performance. In the study, is that this is the reason for further restricting alcohol consumption at altitude.

There is another reason to avoid foam drinks like beer without the aid of gravity, liquids and gases accumulate in the stomach of an astronaut, leading to not the most pleasant effects.

However, despite the strict rules, it does not mean that people in space will never come into contact with the fermented liquids. Aboard the ISS conducted a lot of experiments with alcohol, but not excessive its use, so no one actually really knows how to respond to the human body.

"We are exploring all possible processes of changing the bodies of astronauts in space, including on the level of microbes," says Stephanie Shierholz, the press Secretary of NASA. "And we have a very strong nutrition program, which ensures that the bodies of the astronauts get to stay healthy."

In the framework of the Skylab astronauts had given sherry, but he bad shown itself in flight in microgravity.

The most amazing thing is that the first liquid that is drunk on the moon was wine. Buzz Aldrin said in an interview that he drank a little wine, partaking, before came out of the lunar module in 1969. The ceremony took place during a pause in the communication mode, so didn't give it to the Earth.

Though NASA has long imposed strict restrictions on drinking alcohol in space, Russian cosmonauts in the past could afford to relax. Astronauts on Board the orbital station "Mir" could afford a little brandy and vodka. I wonder how they agreed to fly to the ISS with its dry law.

In 2015 the Japanese company "Suntory" was sent to the space station some of your best whiskey. This was done in the experiment on the observation of "symptoms of taste in alcoholic beverages in use in microgravity". In other words, once in microgravity, the drink is gaining strength in another way, and the taste of her will be better and will appear faster.

A few years ago, from September 2011 to September 2014, NASA conducted an experiment to study the effects of microgravity on the whiskey and charred oak, which helps to drink in the process. After 1000 days in space the tannins in the whiskey remained unchanged but the space, the chips issued a higher concentration of flavor.

So while the astronauts were forbidden to drink alcohol, even in space, they continue to work on improving the taste of alcoholic drinks that we drink here on Earth. As for Mars missions that will last for years, without alcohol they would not do.

Experts like Hanson, however, I see no harm in further restriction of alcohol. In addition to practical considerations of safety, there may be other problems. Hanson believes that many socio-cultural differences of earthlings living in a confined space for many years, significantly complicate drunkenness.

"This is politics. It is a culture. But it is not a science," he says. What happens if you find yourself among Muslims, Mormons and teetotalers? Harmonization of cultural points of view in tight spaces will be a priority from the very beginning.

Therefore, astronauts who want to cheer the spirit, will have to enjoy the view from the window, not the view of the bottom of the glass. But we'll leave them some champagne, when they will return.

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