Discussion Apollo astronauts suffer due to radiation exposure

Andy44

owner: Oil Creek Astronautix
Addon Developer
Joined
Nov 22, 2007
Messages
7,620
Reaction score
5
Points
113
Location
In the Mid-Atlantic states
http://observer.com/2016/07/space-radiation-devastated-the-lives-of-apollo-astronauts/

A startling new study has revealed that a troubling number of the lunar astronauts from NASA’s Apollo program are suffering high mortality rates due to heart disease. The cause? Exposure to high levels of deep space radiation during their trip to the Moon.
.
.
.
The number of cardiovascular disease-related deaths among the deep space astronauts were significantly higher.
The rate among astronauts who never flew is 9%. Among low-Earth orbiting astronauts, its 11%. For the men who travelled to the Moon, a staggering 43%, or 4-5 times higher than their less-travelled colleagues.

Sounds bad for any trips beyond LEO.
 

Hlynkacg

Aspiring rocket scientist
Addon Developer
Tutorial Publisher
Donator
Joined
Dec 27, 2010
Messages
1,870
Reaction score
1
Points
0
Location
San Diego
Something that the article neglects to mention is that they are dying of cardiovascular disease in their 70s and 80s. On a long enough timeline the survival rate for anyone drops to zero.
 

Andy44

owner: Oil Creek Astronautix
Addon Developer
Joined
Nov 22, 2007
Messages
7,620
Reaction score
5
Points
113
Location
In the Mid-Atlantic states
Something that the article neglects to mention is that they are dying of cardiovascular disease in their 70s and 80s. On a long enough timeline the survival rate for anyone drops to zero.

Wrong.

The article compares astronauts of the Apollo era to each other, discriminating between those who left LEO, those who only flew in LEO, and those who never left the ground.

---------- Post added at 08:06 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:05 PM ----------

BTW, when I say "Wrong", I am saying it in my best Urwumpe voice. ;)
 

DaveS

Space Shuttle Ultra Project co-developer
Addon Developer
Donator
Beta Tester
Joined
Feb 4, 2008
Messages
9,282
Reaction score
563
Points
203
Something that the article neglects to mention is that they are dying of cardiovascular disease in their 70s and 80s. On a long enough timeline the survival rate for anyone drops to zero.
Yes and all of the Apollo astronauts(Jim Lovell, Gene Cernan and John Young) that went twice are still alive.
 

Hlynkacg

Aspiring rocket scientist
Addon Developer
Tutorial Publisher
Donator
Joined
Dec 27, 2010
Messages
1,870
Reaction score
1
Points
0
Location
San Diego
If you want to sow fear about the dangers of radiation you should be looking at Swigert and Roosa who both died of cancer at the ages of 51 and 61 respectively but 2 guys out of 24 is not enough for a clickbaity article, especially when most of the others are doing fine.

Edit:
The article compares astronauts of the Apollo era to each other, discriminating between those who left LEO, those who only flew in LEO, and those who never left the ground.

It then compares astronauts to the general population between the ages 55-64 to arrive at it's conclusion that astronauts are dying at a higher rate. The problem is that most of them lived (or are currently in the process of living) a lot longer than that.

The article is load of click-bait nonsense.
 
Last edited:

ADSWNJ

Scientist
Addon Developer
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Messages
1,664
Reaction score
2
Points
38
The survival rates for those who intended to go to the Moon in a 100% O2 environment was pretty poor too. Damn oxygen.

(Tongue in cheek. My respect to the fallen.)
 

DaveS

Space Shuttle Ultra Project co-developer
Addon Developer
Donator
Beta Tester
Joined
Feb 4, 2008
Messages
9,282
Reaction score
563
Points
203
The survival rates for those who intended to go to the Moon in a 100% O2 environment was pretty poor too. Damn oxygen.

(Tongue in cheek. My respect to the fallen.)
Actually, while the 100% O2 atmosphere had a part in the AS-204 fire, the pressure played a bigger part. For the "Plugs Out" test, the cabin atmosphere was 100% O2 at 17 PSI, while on-orbit it was 100% O2 at 5 PSI. The higher pressure during the test was to simulate the cabin overpressure on-orbit. All Apollo flights was 100% O2 at 5 PSI during flight. The change was for launch at which at the atmosphere was a normal 80/20 N2/O2 mix at 14.7 PSI (sea level).
 

boogabooga

Bug Crusher
Joined
Apr 16, 2011
Messages
2,999
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Correlation does not mean causation. For that matter, has it been shown that radiation exposure causes heart disease?

Also, the sample size is very small. Heart disease is not uncommon. I'm sure that if I tried hard enough, I could find a group of 20 or so people who were born in the '30s and colleagues in the '70s with a 45% mortality rate.
 

GLS

Well-known member
Orbiter Contributor
Addon Developer
Joined
Mar 22, 2008
Messages
5,001
Reaction score
1,633
Points
188
I'll just add this to the discussion:
Dave Scott and Jim Irwin had some issues with their drink bags during the EVAs, and Irwin apparently didn't drink at all during at least one of the 3 7-hour EVAs. :blink: As a result both astronauts had some heart issues since the moonwalks, and Irwin died in 1981 if I remember well.
 

ADSWNJ

Scientist
Addon Developer
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Messages
1,664
Reaction score
2
Points
38
Actually, while the 100% O2 atmosphere had a part in the AS-204 fire, the pressure played a bigger part. For the "Plugs Out" test, the cabin atmosphere was 100% O2 at 17 PSI, while on-orbit it was 100% O2 at 5 PSI. The higher pressure during the test was to simulate the cabin overpressure on-orbit. All Apollo flights was 100% O2 at 5 PSI during flight. The change was for launch at which at the atmosphere was a normal 80/20 N2/O2 mix at 14.7 PSI (sea level).

Those poor souls were burnt in over 1000F in a pure oxygen environment with flammable material (toxic smoke) and poor quality arcing cabling. Despite the fire being out in under 30 seconds due to all the oxygen being consumed by then, the astronauts really had no chance any way you look at it. As you say though, doing an over-pressure test with an inward-facing non-fast blow hatch was more than enough to seal their fate.

100% O2 at 5psi on orbit looks equally terrifying though. It would still burn real fast if it could find anything to oxidize.
 

Andy44

owner: Oil Creek Astronautix
Addon Developer
Joined
Nov 22, 2007
Messages
7,620
Reaction score
5
Points
113
Location
In the Mid-Atlantic states
Correlation does not mean causation. For that matter, has it been shown that radiation exposure causes heart disease?

They did do other experiments on animals, says in the article.

---------- Post added at 11:10 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:08 PM ----------

I'll just add this to the discussion:
Dave Scott and Jim Irwin had some issues with their drink bags during the EVAs, and Irwin apparently didn't drink at all during at least one of the 3 7-hour EVAs. :blink: As a result both astronauts had some heart issues since the moonwalks, and Irwin died in 1981 if I remember well.

How does getting dehydrated lead to heart disease years later? That sounds more improbable than the particle radiation idea.
 

Urwumpe

Not funny anymore
Addon Developer
Donator
Joined
Feb 6, 2008
Messages
36,871
Reaction score
1,533
Points
203
Location
Langendernbach

BTW, when I say "Wrong", I am saying it in my best Urwumpe voice. ;)

You're doing it wrong!

:lol:

Actually, the study is a nice example of how to cheat with statistics, because of a very low sample size (only 24 astronauts went to the moon) and how medical studies try to make this problem look better by simply torturing some animals in a way that supports the claims. (Without caring about radiation environment and equivalent dose)

Like often in such studies: 33.3% died, 33.3% survived and the third patient is missing.
 

GLS

Well-known member
Orbiter Contributor
Addon Developer
Joined
Mar 22, 2008
Messages
5,001
Reaction score
1,633
Points
188
How does getting dehydrated lead to heart disease years later? That sounds more improbable than the particle radiation idea.
Electrolyte unbalance and cardiac muscle damage? Any doctors here?
 

Ravenous

Donator
Donator
Joined
Jul 19, 2013
Messages
275
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
sitting at the pointy end
As a few of you guys have commented - this study uses an extremely small sample size. (The paper itself admits this.) (It admits the animal studies used radiation doses packed into a shorter time too.)

Anyway I propose an alternate risk - those who left LEO and went to (or onto) the moon have spent decades since being wined and dined and invited out to numerous very heavy dinners. Who's to say this hasn't added to their risks?

Anyway - the study was too small. Let's get a few hundred more volunteers to the moon, then I'll be happy with the statistics and I'm sure they'll be happy with the risks too. :)
 

Urwumpe

Not funny anymore
Addon Developer
Donator
Joined
Feb 6, 2008
Messages
36,871
Reaction score
1,533
Points
203
Location
Langendernbach
Electrolyte unbalance and cardiac muscle damage? Any doctors here?

I remember there is such a mechanism, but I would need to consult a doctor for that as well first.

I remember that it is not just about the dehydration, but dehydration was an important contributing factor. Too little potassium or magnesium will eventually lead to a heart failure, among other symptoms.

---------- Post added at 02:00 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:57 PM ----------

Anyway I propose an alternate risk - those who left LEO and went to (or onto) the moon have spent decades since being wined and dined and invited out to numerous very heavy dinners. Who's to say this hasn't added to their risks?

And they lived in a period of much higher nuclear pollution in the air, thanks to massive nuclear testing.
 
Top