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Astronauts' Hearts Change Shape In Space

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the feeling-round dept.

Space 113

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Astronauts who go into space come back with rounder hearts. Scientists who had astronauts regularly take images of their hearts with ultrasound machines found that the organ becomes more spherical in space by a factor of 9.4%. The researchers believe the change in shape, which is temporary, indicates that the heart is performing less efficiently in zero gravity."

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Before I buy that Virgin Galactic ticket, tell me: (5, Funny)

QilessQi (2044624) | about 8 months ago | (#46625735)

...do any other, ahem, organs become more spherical? Because that could be a deal breaker.

Re:Before I buy that Virgin Galactic ticket, tell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46625775)

Yeah... I mean.. who wants a spherical kidney?! What would that do to your view of kidney beans and other beans?

Lol, 9.4% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46627241)

Ah, because the metric for "spherieness" isn't at all subjective. Let's be sure not just to call it 9%, but let's even go further to call 9.4%.
 
A real scientist working with such a small data set and such a subjective measurement would say something more along the lines of "roughly ten per cent" or "9% plus or minus 5 percent."
 
It's like measuring your home electricity use down to 10 decimal places. Not only is it not accurate, but it doesn't make any sense to do that.

Re:Lol, 9.4% (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | about 8 months ago | (#46628049)

'Ah, because the metric for "spherieness" isn't at all subjective.'

That's true. It's not really subjective. Here's a neat little illustration/calculator to help you with the concept.

http://www.mathopenref.com/ell... [mathopenref.com]

Re:Lol, 9.4% (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46628363)

Heh, dude, lick my balls. GP was right. You are making the idiotic assumption that the heart is an ellipsoid. Perhaps you would be well off with a brain transplant.

Mod parent up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46629705)

What he is saying is 109.4% true. The other guy is an idiot.

Re:Before I buy that Virgin Galactic ticket, tell (1, Redundant)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 8 months ago | (#46625825)

With a spherical penis I could knock up (down) all the bowling pins in the world.

Re:Before I buy that Virgin Galactic ticket, tell (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46625957)

...do any other, ahem, organs become more spherical? Because that could be a deal breaker.

Lucky for you the effect is temporary.. So go ahead and take the virgin trip...

Re:Before I buy that Virgin Galactic ticket, tell (2)

chuckugly (2030942) | about 8 months ago | (#46626249)

We need to put Lucie Wilde into space for further, um, experiments. Science experiments, that is.

Re:Before I buy that Virgin Galactic ticket, tell (4, Interesting)

BitZtream (692029) | about 8 months ago | (#46627277)

The effects on the penis are documented.

You will be happy with the results, the penis becomes engorged far easier and a bunch of other things resulting in a pleasant surprise to the kind of guy who thinks having his member be a little larger is going to resolve his performance issues.

Likewise the woman's sex organs also fill with blood easier, making them more sensitive.

This is all documented by NASA and other space agencies.

The only thing I question is who they know some of the things they've documented without having a couple astronauts come back and say 'yea, we spanked it in space' or the married couple that went up on one of the shuttle missions really did have sex ... probably while the crew members watched since there really isn't anywhere to be alone. They insist its never happened though ...

Re:Before I buy that Virgin Galactic ticket, tell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46628427)

Didn't the Chinese program have some mysterious "physical exercise" scheduled while the backup-male was on EVA?

Re:Before I buy that Virgin Galactic ticket, tell (1)

Zaldarr (2469168) | about 8 months ago | (#46629679)

Wouldn't all this just be self-reported?

Re:Before I buy that Virgin Galactic ticket, tell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46630853)

Shut up and TAKE MY MONEY!!!

Re:Before I buy that Virgin Galactic ticket, tell (2)

niftydude (1745144) | about 8 months ago | (#46627467)

...do any other, ahem, organs become more spherical? Because that could be a deal breaker.

How so? I thought the general consensus was that girth is always preferable to length.

Re:Before I buy that Virgin Galactic ticket, tell (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 8 months ago | (#46627845)

That's assuming that girth increases to match length, instead of vice versa. That could be very, very bad.

Re:Before I buy that Virgin Galactic ticket, tell (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 8 months ago | (#46628327)

do any other, ahem, organs become more spherical? Because that could be a deal breaker.

There's a reason it's called Virgin Galactic.

Re:Before I buy that Virgin Galactic ticket, tell (1)

ilsaloving (1534307) | about 8 months ago | (#46630241)

...do any other, ahem, organs become more spherical? Because that could be a deal breaker.

Considering that you'd be booking on a trip with a company named Virgin, I don't see how that would be a problem. ;)

It's a miracle it even works at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46625743)

They'll need to find a way around the zero-g physical adaptation problem sooner rather than later. Centripetal force and regular physical activity seem to be the main two strategies.

Re:It's a miracle it even works at all (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 8 months ago | (#46625831)

find a way around the problem...Centripetal force and regular...

But do you really want bugs with 100 legs crawling around the station?

Re:It's a miracle it even works at all (3, Funny)

Kaenneth (82978) | about 8 months ago | (#46625859)

Will Samuel L. Jackson be in it?

Re:It's a miracle it even works at all (2)

JustOK (667959) | about 8 months ago | (#46625861)

They'll use millenialpedes. Everything is centered and drawn towards them.

Re:It's a miracle it even works at all (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 8 months ago | (#46626021)

Actually, I believe he's using it correctly: "Centripetal: moving or tending to move toward a center."

Of course, what he probably wanted was "Centrifugal."

Re:It's a miracle it even works at all (1)

fnj (64210) | about 8 months ago | (#46627121)

There is no such thing as centrifugal force; only centripetal force. It takes a force (gravity or mechanical connection) to keep an object accelerating at a constant right angle to its path as a circular path demands.

What is thought of as "centrifugal" force is actually nothing but inertia.

Re:It's a miracle it even works at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46627929)

This explains what I'm thinking better than I would http://xkcd.com/123/

Well.... (1)

Gerald Butler (3528265) | about 8 months ago | (#46629591)

It depends on whether you are talking ONLY about inertial frames of reference. In the non-inertial frame of reference, there most certainly is a measurable centrifugal force. Everyone who keeps trotting out, "there is no such thing as centrifugal force, only centripetal force" has a fairly naive understanding of the difference between inertial and non-inertial frames of reference.

Re:It's a miracle it even works at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46631319)

F=-F

Fcf=-Fcp

It's not complicated.

I astronaut-heart you (5, Funny)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | about 8 months ago | (#46625753)

I O U

Re:I astronaut-heart you (2)

bobbied (2522392) | about 8 months ago | (#46625965)

I O U

Well, I guess space flight makes the world go round...

Astronauts are aces! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 8 months ago | (#46625797)

Here's a catalog of the old and new shapes: http://www.briarpress.org/?q=s... [briarpress.org]

Valentines Day (1)

acidradio (659704) | about 8 months ago | (#46625807)

Great. How will the Hallmark card go for this one? You've completely ruined yet another "Hallmark holiday"! How will we stay in business?

Re:Valentines Day (1)

Wycliffe (116160) | about 8 months ago | (#46625971)

If you haven't noticed yet, the "heart shape" isn't really shaped like a real heart at all.
There are plenty of theories about how it came to be. Many of the leading theories are
that it may be originally based on a different organ entirely.

Re:Valentines Day (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 8 months ago | (#46626001)

If you haven't noticed yet, the "heart shape" isn't really shaped like a real heart at all. There are plenty of theories about how it came to be. Many of the leading theories are that it may be originally based on a different organ entirely.

Different cultures do have alternate ideas about the seat of emotion and have ascribed this function to various parts of the body.

Re:Valentines Day (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 months ago | (#46626119)

It should be the brain.
Anything else is wrong.

Re:Valentines Day (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 8 months ago | (#46626295)

It should be the brain.
Anything else is wrong.

Actually it's the genitals.

Re:Valentines Day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46626323)

There's many things in a female anatomy which are "heart shaped". And no, the brain is none of it.

Re:Valentines Day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46633197)

It's shaped after the seed-pod of a plant that was used by the Romans as birth control. They liked it so much they put it one their coins. It's now extinct. They fucked it to extinction.

It was thought to look like hanging testicles. Then someone turned it upside down and said, it's a love-heart.

Probably a Christian. They ruin everything fun.

Spinning Space stations (2)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 8 months ago | (#46625819)

So, we will need to have a spinning station that will create an artificial gravity. (As seen in '2001 A Space Oddessy')

Re:Spinning Space stations (4, Insightful)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 8 months ago | (#46625877)

Spinning stations need to be large in diameter: the smaller the diameter, the faster you have to spin it, and the coriolis force starts to really screw with the people inside it. Great if you want the astronauts throwing up all the time. So spinning stations have to be big, which means expensive.

The alternative is to tether two stations together, but NASA have a history of serious problems with tethers.

Amusement park? (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 8 months ago | (#46625943)

Great if you want the astronauts throwing up all the time

So THAT'S why the typical rotating amusement-park space station is smaller than your other typical rotating space stations!

Re:Spinning Space stations (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 8 months ago | (#46626485)

Just to put it in perspective, IIRC from my high school days as the president of the school's Space Settlement Design Team [spaceset.org] (don't laugh, we qualified for the international-level finals every year we competed back in the very early 2000s!), a torus a mile in diameter needs to rotate once a minute in order to achieve 1g. Tethers or not, it's hard to keep something like that together.

Re:Spinning Space stations (1)

JeffAtl (1737988) | about 8 months ago | (#46626675)

Tethers or not, it's hard to keep something like that together.

How come? Seems like keeping it together with a tether would be the easy part and putting the whole thing in motion would be the hard part.

Re:Spinning Space stations (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 8 months ago | (#46630011)

1g is roughly 9.8N/kg. With a torus a mile across, that's a lot of mass, meaning that's a lot of force pulling away from the center. I was suggesting that not only would it be difficult with the tether that was being discussed, it'd be difficult period. Spinning it up wouldn't be particularly difficult, it'd just take some time and a lot of fuel.

Re:Spinning Space stations (3, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about 8 months ago | (#46626721)

All ofthe NASA designs from the 60's were 10KM across at the smallest. building a tiny one at 1Mile across would be silly 10Km will be a rotational speed of 0.02 Radians per second. or 1 revolution every 6 minutes (Appx)

Spinning is not the hard part, building it so that it can withstand the 1G of pulling force across the spokes that will have to exist is the hard part. you need to have a safety factor of at LEAST 2 to 1 of the spokes in case of failure.

Plus you will want the torus to be at least 10km across otherwise you will get a significant difference of gravity from the feet to head and a tiny 1 mile across torus will actually make is so you can feel the spinning in your inner ear.

This is all off the cuff calculations, I cant be bothered to grab my calculator. but it does not have to be a solid ring, you can start by building a double ended counterweight of two identical sections connected by a single spoke to a hub.

Re:Spinning Space stations (1)

fnj (64210) | about 8 months ago | (#46627141)

If you have a complete torus, it doesn't need any spokes or hub at all. The hub, and concomitally the spokes, are a convenience for docking.

Re:Spinning Space stations (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 8 months ago | (#46628071)

... building it so that it can withstand the 1G of pulling force across the spokes that will have to exist is the hard part.

Sadly, we have no experience [bloguin.com] building structures [wikimedia.org] that put loads on cables [vertikal.net] .

Re:Spinning Space stations (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 8 months ago | (#46628369)

Just to put it in perspective, IIRC from my high school days as the president of the school's Space Settlement Design Team [spaceset.org] (don't laugh, we qualified for the international-level finals every year we competed back in the very early 2000s!), a torus a mile in diameter needs to rotate once a minute in order to achieve 1g. Tethers or not, it's hard to keep something like that together.

Wikipedia suggests that you probably want to keep the speed at or below 2 rpm and certainly no more than 7 rpm.

Re:Spinning Space stations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46626551)

They don't have to be spinning that fast.

Instead of generating a 1G equivalent force, generate 1/6, or 1/4.

That would reduce the spin required and reduce the structural weight required.

Second, nothing says you have to have a ring. Spinning structures have been done before - just put living quarters at one end of a boom, and a counterweight (supplies? another living space?) at the other. Spin the beam about the center. Sure, a 100 meter boom would be nice - with an elevator to get to the center of rotation.

Re:Spinning Space stations (4, Interesting)

camperdave (969942) | about 8 months ago | (#46626825)

Instead of generating a 1G equivalent force, generate 1/6, or 1/4.

On a trip to Mars you could start at 1G and gradually reduce the spin until you reach 0.38G (Mars surface gravity). On the way back you increase the spin gradually until you reach 1G again. Over the 8 month trip, this would be imperceptible. Astronauts would be acclimated to the gravity of the destination planet by the time they got there.

Re:Spinning Space stations (1)

Hillgiant (916436) | about 8 months ago | (#46629849)

Or you could send a robot and save on spinning spacecraft, food, water, air, and fuel to provide/propel all the above.

Re:Spinning Space stations (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 8 months ago | (#46630907)

Or, by killing the human spirit and drive to explore, you could save on the whole kit and kaboodle.

Re:Spinning Space stations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46633261)

You know you don't have to be a retard?

Re:Spinning Space stations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46631115)

Or you could send a robot and save on spinning spacecraft, food, water, air, and fuel to provide/propel all the above.

Geez, what were we thinking? You're right. Maybe we should let some other nation win that space-race.

Re:Spinning Space stations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46633331)

What did "winning" earn you? Did you get a cash prize? Did they give you a nice ribbon? Maybe a cake?

You spent the equivalent of over $200 billion, and when it was done you had 25kg of samples and some video of astronauts falling over. You didn't sustainably advance humanity into space by one fucking inch. The whole thing was a giant waste of time and money.

So what did you win? Huh?

Re:Spinning Space stations (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 8 months ago | (#46627323)

This makes sense--only generate enough force as you need to. The problem is, "How much do you need?"

The Centrifuge Accommodation Module [wikipedia.org] would have helped answer that question as well as questions about exploring Mars and such. Sounds like a handy little device, huh? Pity they cancelled it.

Re:Spinning Space stations (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about 8 months ago | (#46633375)

They don't have to be spinning that fast. Instead of generating a 1G equivalent force, generate 1/6, or 1/4.

Except you don't know whether that solves the problem. We've never done the experiment, not even on animals. 60 years of human space-flight, hundreds of billions of dollars, and we still only have two data points, 0 and 1.

Re:Spinning Space stations (2)

khallow (566160) | about 8 months ago | (#46626785)

The alternative is to tether two stations together, but NASA have a history of serious problems with tethers.

It doesn't have much of a history with tethers. And the only one where they actually tried to generate a small amount artificial gravity (on the Gemini 11 mission [wikipedia.org] in 1966), they did get to work after some tribulation.

Gordon's first EVA, planned to last for two hours, involved fastening a 100-foot (30 m) tether, stored in the Agena's docking collar, to the Gemini's docking bar for the passive stabilization experiment. Gordon achieved this, but as with previous Gemini EVAs, trying to do work for an extended period proved more fatiguing than in ground simulation, and the EVA had to be terminated after only half an hour.

The passive stabilization experiment proved to be a bit troublesome. Conrad and Gordon separated the craft in a nose-(Agena-)down position, but found that the tether would not be kept taut simply by the Earth's gravity gradient as expected. But they were able to generate a small amount of artificial gravity, about 0.00015 g, by firing their side thrusters to slowly rotate the combined craft like a slow-motion pair of bolas.

Re:Spinning Space stations (1)

AudioEfex (637163) | about 8 months ago | (#46626137)

That's also the conceit Star Trek uses, although the entire ship doesn't spin, just a plate within it. Like many space travel issues, we know how to do it, or at least have a reasonable idea of how it can be done, but it's difficult because even if we had the funding, the only ways in which things are possible would have the side effect of turning us into mush/killing us in the process. It's force fields that are the ingredient we really need to make a lot of this stuff work around our fragile human bodies.

Re:Spinning Space stations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46626435)

There is no spinning in Star Trek
There is magical artificial gravity.

How do you know? The captains quarters are the little central point on the main saucer section. In some views of the space ship they are standing "upright" in the "window" that you can see right up the top.

Re:Spinning Space stations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46628751)

Not to mention that in the very first TNG episode, the entire saucer section is undocked, showing that the bridge is not in the saucer section.

Re:Spinning Space stations (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | about 8 months ago | (#46626513)

What Star Trek are you watching?

Re:Spinning Space stations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46626663)

IIRMy Star Trek correctly, and I do, their 'gravity' was never meant to be explained. You just had to suspend belief in order to get past the "Why aren't they floating around, Daddy?" questions. It was explained away at the time as, "Future conquered the gravity problem, now just watch the show for Chrissake!" ;>)

Re:Spinning Space stations (1)

fnj (64210) | about 8 months ago | (#46627207)

Star Trek would have needed a considerably bigger budget to have all the actors suspended on wires all the time to simulate zero gee. It's pretty difficult and demanding to give a convincing illusion.

Also with no controlled gravity field, changing warp speed would have had to be a very slow process, and the they would have had to show everyone taking to restraints every time the speed or direction was varied.

Star Trek was much less lame than crap like Star Wars or 99% of all productions involving space travel. Just how do you maneuver in space? Certainly not with wings and aerodynamic surfaces like a Tie Fighter! Then there are the insultingly stupid sound effects usually present where there is NO MEDIUM to carry sound. I know Star Trek exterior shots had a swishing sound, but I always considered that an artistic license to satisfy viewers who had little understanding of science.

2001 got it all stunningly, and practically uniquely, right.

Re:Spinning Space stations (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 8 months ago | (#46627347)

Warp speed doesn't change the speed of the ship, it changes the size of space around the ship. Not really any big need for inertial compensation, you shrink 10 light years of space into a football field, then just walk to the other side. Thats what the WARP drive is. Seriously, google it.

Impulse on the other hand, would have needed some sort of inertial dampeners if you could create drives that powerful. Impulse was nothing more than standard ION engines. Its unlikely (not impossible at all) that we'll create that level of impulse drive.

Space most certainly does have a 'medium'. It is not a vacuum contrary to what you learned in elementary school, and there is even a sound, though you wouldn't be able to hear it with ears made for significantly more dense settings, and you wouldn't care probably since you'd be dealing with the issues that go along with 0 external pressure on a body that wasn't made to deal with a 1 atmosphere pressure differential between inside and out. We're not really 100% sure about whats out there beyond our galaxy, but every indication says its just more of the same, but less dense ... a bunch of hydrogen, a little helium, and a tiny bit of the old stars that went nova.

Its cute that you try to pick it apart, and you're not entirely wrong from a practical perspective, but you are most certainly entirely wrong from a technical perspective.

Re:Spinning Space stations (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 8 months ago | (#46627703)

Star Trek explained the changing warp speed and direction bit with "inertial dampers", apparently some sort of force-field, probably the same as the artificial gravity but in other directions besides vertical, used to counteract the huge accelerative forces experienced during maneuvers which would othewise cause people to become splats on the bulkheads.

Tie fighters and X-wing fighters didn't make that much sense, but I believe the official explanation for those was that the wings were necessary for keeping the guns far from the cockpit, though this doesn't explain why the X-wing's wings had to move.

Re:Spinning Space stations (1)

Miseph (979059) | about 8 months ago | (#46627981)

I always just assumed that Tie Fighters and X-Wings had vaguely aerodynamic designs because they weren't pure spacecraft, but rather transatmopspheric dogfighters. Given how often both are shown to do precisely that in the films, it never seemed like much of a stretch.

The X-Wing's variable geometry does make some degree of sense from that perspective as well, with the X formation providing greater fire variability and the flat providing better aerodynamics and lift in dense atmospheres, as well as a better profile for evading fire. Of course, they never seemed to give a damn about that part in the films, so maybe I'm way off base.

I strongly suspect that both of those theories are completely invalidated by the non-movie canon... in which case, I still don't care about the extended SW universe.

Re:Spinning Space stations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46630665)

The TIE fighters are shown in extended universe to actually have issues maneuvering side-to-side in atmosphere because the drag would tear off the side panels. The side panels were just solar panels or something like that, I think. Not well thought out at all.

Re:Spinning Space stations (1)

dcw3 (649211) | about 8 months ago | (#46632757)

Just like a fighter on an aircraft carrier. The wings fold up so you can fit more of them inside the ship.

Re:Spinning Space stations (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 8 months ago | (#46633299)

No, because they showed them changing the wings' position during flight in the movies (I believe one big place was when they were attacking the Death Star in Ep.4).

Also, there aren't any fighter aircraft which fold their wings for storage that I can think of. If you're thinking of the F-14 Tomcat of Top Gun infamy, it changed its wings' position in-flight to switch from low-speed to high-speed modes. The wings were kept out for greater lift at low speeds (esp. useful for takeoff from an aircraft carrier due to the very short launch length), and folded in for supersonic flight.

Re:Spinning Space stations (1)

dcw3 (649211) | about 8 months ago | (#46633663)

Okay, you're right about the X...I'll give you that one.

But there a have been plenty of folding wing aircraft, and no, I'm not talking about sweep wings. The first were way back in the 1930s

https://www.google.com/search?... [google.com]

Re:Spinning Space stations (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 8 months ago | (#46633771)

I wasn't thinking of WWII-era planes, and had forgotten about the AWACS plane, but I didn't realize the F-18 also had folding wings.

Re:Spinning Space stations (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about 8 months ago | (#46633469)

"inertial dampers", apparently some sort of force-field, probably the same as the artificial gravity but in other directions besides vertical, used to counteract the huge accelerative forces experienced during maneuvers which would othewise cause people to become splats on the bulkheads.

It could handle warp speed and high-g manoeuvres (and high-g manoeuvres at warp speed), but the small shock of an impact (which barely budged the ship when viewed from outside) threw them all over the bridge.

Re:Spinning Space stations (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 8 months ago | (#46633741)

Supposedly, the inertial dampers couldn't react in time for that, or the magnitude of those shocks was greater than the dampers could handle. Yeah, it's BS; we have systems now that can react in tens of microseconds (like car ABS and stability control systems, not to mention high-performance fighter jet control systems).

The other thing that's even dumber was the bridge consoles constantly exploding and injuring people. Why would so much power be routed through those control consoles? There shouldn't be any more than 12V power going to those things to run the touchscreens.

Re:Spinning Space stations (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 8 months ago | (#46627725)

Also, 2001 did make an error: when Bowman exited the pod and jumped into the airlock, the pod should have been propelled backwards.

Re:Spinning Space stations (1)

ShooterNeo (555040) | about 8 months ago | (#46629053)

Was the pod powered up with it's instruments online? A pod like that would have a reaction control system and automated avionics.

Re:Spinning Space stations (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 8 months ago | (#46627687)

It was explained just fine. They had artificial gravity. They could turn it on and off at will (though it was usually left on); remember in the TNG shuttlecraft bay, there was a big warning that said "Variable Gravity Area".

Re:Spinning Space stations (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 months ago | (#46626181)

The don't really work.
I know people love them in sci-fi, but in reality there is no "ARTIFICIAL GRAVITY" You step off one and you..float.
They need to be large, spinning, and the object it is in needs to be accelerating. If it isn't accelerating the way you are walking, then you just float off.

Re:Spinning Space stations (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 8 months ago | (#46628899)

Erm no. We have really not much idea about gravity, other than it is there and it's affects. Artificially controlling gravity will likely be no more difficult than sending a signal via wireless transmitters, or atomic power, or computers, once we learn how gravity actually works, from that one little bit of understanding many things will grow including getting huge masses cheaply into orbit, enabling very large space stations that will of course not need to rotate, other than perhaps controlling solar energy inputs.

Re:Spinning Space stations (1)

thunderclap (972782) | about 8 months ago | (#46627099)

The Babylon Project was a dream, given form. Its goal: to prevent another war, by creating a place where humans and aliens can work out their differences peacefully. It's a port of call – home away from home – for diplomats, hustlers, entrepreneurs, and wanderers. Humans and aliens, wrapped in two million, five hundred thousand tons of spinning metal. A self-contained world five miles long, located in neutral territory. A place of commerce and diplomacy for a quarter of a million humans and aliens. A shining beacon in space . . . all alone in the night.

Re:Spinning Space stations (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 8 months ago | (#46627657)

We could just replace their hearts with artificial models.

How about the gallbladder? (1)

dohzer (867770) | about 8 months ago | (#46625855)

What shape did the gallbladder become?

Re:How about the gallbladder? (2)

swb (14022) | about 8 months ago | (#46626305)

It's fairly galling no matter what shape it is.

Human anatomy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46625937)

I'm sure that a space born human would have totally different anatomy if it is being conceived in space. Although this experiment is sort of risky because theemale should be able to stay for almost a year and risk her own life along with the baby's.

Assume (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46626153)

Assume a spherical, frictionless heart..in space!

But do they need it? (4, Interesting)

wjcofkc (964165) | about 8 months ago | (#46626171)

I would be curious to know if the heart even has to be as efficient in micro gravity.

Re:But do they need it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46628125)

Of course they need it. Without a heart they'd turn into bankers.

Re:But do they need it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46628623)

Obviously not.

It's not that the heart changes shape just because it's space, it's that the heart adapts to it's new surroundings – much like most of the human body, I would imagine.

Re:But do they need it? (1)

kinnell (607819) | about 8 months ago | (#46629165)

More to the point, I wonder if a more spherical shape isn't more efficient in micro gravity and this is what drives the change. The heart no longer has to pump blood uphill, so it would stand to reason that a shape which generates less force while using less energy would be optimum, and out bodies tend to be pretty good at finding the most energy efficient way of adapting to the environment they are in.

Microgravity (1)

Nimey (114278) | about 8 months ago | (#46626339)

I'll be that guy and point out that in low Earth orbit (indeed, any orbit) we experience *microgravity*, not zero gravity. Nowhere in the universe is gravitational force zero.

Re:Microgravity (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46626493)

And I'll be that other guy and point out that in LEO, you have not increased your distance from the center of the earth enough to make much change in how much force gravity applies to you. You're just in a really long freefall.

That's nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46626613)

Space Nutter's brains change shape just reading about space!

Or maybe heart shape is distorted by gravity (1)

erice (13380) | about 8 months ago | (#46626789)

If hearts became more rounded through increased muscle mass then that could be evidence that hearts performance inefficiently in zero-g. Unfortunately, the teaser articles doesn't say that. Just changing shape could simply mean that heart development is normally distorted by gravity and without gravity, you naturally get a more rounded shape. A third possibility is that the longer shape is muscle mass needed to counteract gravity. Without gravity, there is no need so that extra muscle is lost. I suppose that could be a form of inefficiency since it means that heart is overbuilt for the task.

I might be interesting to study the hearts of hearts of people who stay horizontal. Generally these with be comatose or otherwise bed-ridden without sitting up. Not a perfect analogy, though, since these patients are not getting any exercise while the astronauts are.

Our space program (1)

amightywind (691887) | about 8 months ago | (#46626835)

Wow is our space program lame. In the absence of gravity the equilibrium shape of the human body is a sphere.

Re:Our space program (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about 8 months ago | (#46627861)

In the absence of gravity, isn't the equilibrium shape of any bag of mostly water spherical?

Re:Our space program (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 8 months ago | (#46628023)

The heart is a _very_ muscular organ, under a constant pumping action. I'd hardly call it an "equilibrium" state.

*facepalm* (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46626909)

The heart doesn't need to fight against gravity, so it would only make sense for it to turn down, aka being less efficient.

You know that picture is a pig heart, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46626929)

That is a picture of a pig heart full of liquid gallium, on the left, and full of iohexol, on the right. Pig hearts, when imaged from the appropriate angle, have the classic heart shape. Human hearts are more like, well, trapezoidal.

"Performing less efficiently in zero gravity" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46627651)

If confirmed, THAT is a Game KILLER ! Ergo, No More NASA Human Flight !

Sans

Wait long enough and.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46628269)

the entire astronaut becomes spherical.

I for one welcome these boneless jelly worm overlords.

   

what about laying in Bed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46628671)

Does laying in bed cause your heart to change shape?? Or what about sitting too long??? This is an interesting observation with possible terrestrial parallels.

Less efficient? (2)

docwatson223 (986360) | about 8 months ago | (#46629487)

...or just efficient for zero g?
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