Major impediment to long-term space flight

{{ Male astronauts who spend prolonged periods in space may suffer permanent erectile dysfunction, new research has found. }}

https://faseb.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1096/fj.202300506RR

intercst

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A rare case where gravity lingers, perhaps?

So they’re saying that Top Gun … isn’t top gun? :smiling_imp:

But seriously, this is just a theory for now, probably a good theory, and there will need to be some sort of measures taken during long-duration spaceflight to alleviate it. But it really is still just a theory. From the abstract -

Oxidative stress and endothelial dysfunction are causative factors in the pathogenesis of erectile dysfunction, although the effects of spaceflight on erectile function have been unexplored.

Women in space say they can overlook this, it does not matter to them.

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For some reason, this thread made me think of a great song from yesteryear:

Pete

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It is more trippy like the beginning to Wooden Ships.

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So much for “to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

Yep. But these sorts of things are pretty serious issues that might complicate, or even prevent, any effort at interplanetary (much less interstellar) human colonization. As Leap pointed out, these types of problems wouldn’t necessarily limit human space flight generally (just staff the longer missions with women) - but it would have a serious effect on efforts to set up an off-Earth colony. It’s going to be hard enough just to get a large group of humans to Mars alive in the first place - if male reproductive biology doesn’t work when they get there, that’s going to be a real problem in setting up a lasting and self-sustaining colony.

Hey, I thought I was the double entendre expert here!

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I wonder how they simulated long-terms weightlessness?

A picture of Mitch McConnell in a bathing suit?

We can all now feel very lonely after that comment. :laughing:

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They could probably fix that issue if they treated it like they do cardio. Just need to scale it down to size.

Just sayin…

image

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Just freeze your gametes before you head off to Mars.

DB2

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Not sure that solves the entire problem. Oh, sure, it means that you’ll have some available gametes when you get there. But there’s a host of problems that would come along with a colony in which none of the males were capable of…performing. We can make light of it, since sex is a funny thing to talk about; but how can you recruit the (preferably) youngish people you’d want to start a colony if one of the things they have to give up is that part of their sexuality? Or predict the psychological problems that might cause among the first generation colonists?

But it becomes a real problem if the cause is something that’s not limited to the spaceflight, but instead is also present on Mars itself (low G, artificial environment, etc.). Not only do we not know how the next generation would function if the males were unable to perform (physiologically, psychologically, developmentally, socially - both the males and their female counterparts) - but there are enormous ethical considerations about whether it’s at all moral to make that decision for them.

Now that’s a hard choice.

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I’m pretty sure that people will do as their AI masters tell them to do – or else.

intercst

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You’ll be hearing from my attorney.

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Incels are the prime candidates for the Mars emission.

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People may have problems reproducing, but bacteria may do just fine.

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Lichens seem to do very well in space as well.

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