What does it mean for "modern human beings" to "die in space"?

ByNASA's Marshall Space Flight Center

About half a century passed since humans flew into outer space, many people began to live in space, but once a person died in outer space, except for accidents during launch and return, once There is no. However, in the Mars exploration and resettlement plan that is being developed for the realization of the year 2020, as "an attempt to lose life outside the planet" that human beings have not yet encountered can be cited as a real problem It is getting.

What happens to your body when you die in space? | Popular Science

The plan to send mankind to Mars aims to deliver human beings who have only been to the moon to far distant places. It takes about seven months to reach from Earth to Mars, and since it costs more than a hundred times as much to go back to the Earth, early Mars migrants were asked to " It is thought that it is required to prepare.

Although it is a space exploration that can not live without equipment such as space suit, in fact in 1961 the Soviet astronaut of that timeYuri GagarinSince the first manned space flight, no one has died in space except for the accident during launch and return. This is, of course, because the organizations of various countries are preparing and taking measures to realize safety, but in the journey to Mars where you travel far away from the Earth and take a long time sailing, It is hard to imagine that you encounter a situation you have never experienced.

ByNASA Johnson

Astronaut Terry Bartz has visited the universe four times in space shuttle and ISS (International Space Station) mission, and has carried out an outboard mission two times. According to Mr. Barts, the training that astronauts do does not include the curriculum of "collecting the remains". Medical training to save the lives of other crew is done, but how to deal with the body of the astronaut who died actually depends on the judgment of the captain and the ground controllers at that time It is said that it is done.

NASA also said that "NASA does not create a crisis management plan for all of the low probability of occurrence," Bartz, a former astronaut, also said, "Astronaut career of 16 years I have never talked to other members about the possibility of death with other members, I understand all the possibilities, but it seems like they do not want to talk about topics that no one wants to touch. " It is.

However, it is also true that nothing has not been prepared at all. All partners involved in ISS jointly, such as JAXA in Japan and ESA in Europe are saying that they are preparing for the crew members' death. Former commander of Chris Hadfield, who is experiencing missions at ISS, said, "We are doing what we call" crisis management simulation ", and we are discussing how we deal with the corpses," I will talk.


Mr. Hadfield said "An Astronaut's Guide to Life on EarthIn the context of the situation as follows. "At the control center: I received a report that Chris died from ISS, the staff began coping immediately.OK, how do you do the body of Chris? The body bag that stores the remains in ISS is Do not load it, so put the body of Chris in the space suit and store it in the locker? But what about the problem of "smell"? Get on the supply ship back to the earth, together with other waste Does it burn at the time of entering the atmosphere? Or will you throw it out into space in extravehicular activities and dump it outside? "

Mr. Hadfield said that the problem is that the body is "Biohazard" which requires biological careful handling and that the body lacks the necessary place for the security to deal with the body I will. If a fatal accident happens during extravehicular activities, the dead body will be kept in the active clothing, but the body after death can not escape from corruption. The occurrence of smell accompanying corruption, changes in bodies, spills and the like deteriorates the sanitary condition of the ISS, so it becomes a serious problem as a commander who takes charge of the task. Therefore, Mr Hadfield says "The crew puts the body in active clothing and keeps it somewhere in a low temperature place."

As mentioned above, NASA says that we have not prepared detailed body handling procedures, but in fact it seems that there were cases in which methods of handling were examined in the past. One of them is "The Body Back" developed by the Swedish company "Promessa", which puts a corpse in it and makes it "freeze-dried" in low pressure and low temperature environment of outer space. After that, the dead body can be stored in the spacecraft by shaking it by applying vibration, and in the case of a person weighing 90 kg it can be compressed to only 23 kg.

Also, "dumping" into outer space is also an option. The United Nations has set limits on the dumping of waste in outer space, but there is no regulation on "human body". Nonetheless, there are things that can not happen on the ground at the time of actual dumping. Objects in a zero gravity state and in the absence of air continue moving the same motion all the time at the same speed. Therefore, even if "burial" by releasing the body from the ship to outer space, in principle it will continue to fly about the spacecraft. Therefore, in order to successfully bury the corpse in space, it is said that it is necessary to separate the corpse from the trajectory of the spacecraft using a small injection device.

In addition, it is a death case on Mars' ground surface that must be considered more than the death accident during navigation. As human beings aim to migrate to Mars, it is said that we need to think about "death" that mankind can not avoid without thinking. In low-temperature / low-pressure space, it is necessary to deal with freeze-drying or release to outer space, but once you get down on Mars you can not use those methods.

Mr. Hadfield says that "When you die on people on Mars, Mr. Hadfield says" It will be buried on the spot instead of taking it home. " This is not a story that can never be possible, it seems to be the most realistic way. It is because much energy and expenses are needed to send the bodies back to the earth. Mr. Kathleen Conrie, who studies the conservation of the planetary environment at NASA, said, "There is no particular limitation on dumping organic matter on the Mars, including the human body, as long as the microorganisms from the Earth are dead Therefore it will be necessary to cremate the dead body. "

ByKevin Christopher Burke

Furthermore, it seems that thoughts about "worst-case scenario" are being overlooked. Thousands of years before going out to explore the universe, humanity has continued the adventure of the continents of the world aiming for a new place. Many lives are lost in the process, and it can be said that the current society is built on top of that. In the era when adventure technology was not sufficiently developed, sailing became impossible with a storm etc during boat adventure and sometimes continued drifting for many days. Foods and water that have been loaded in advance will have a bottom and the crew will lose their lives one after another.

Under such circumstances, one of the choices that the last crew who survived can take is ... Acting as "human cannibalism" that uses the body of a deceased person as food. In the ultimate environment where there are multiple crews but the necessary food is lacking before reaching the destination, the other members themselves lose their lives by themselves for the purpose of finally surviving for one person, and the food The option of reducing consumption and increasing the likelihood of survival can be sufficient. But what if I still have food shortage ... What is the answer? In the movie "Odyssey", the crew woman says to her father, "Only the goods transported from the earth are not food sources" It is spoken in the scene to answer.

Paul Walp, a bioethicist, says, "In the ultimate case where it is impossible to think in everyday life, regarding the use of the human body as a nutrient source," It is a traditional rule. "

When traveling to the new world, there is always some risk. And those who throw themselves into adventure are trying to devote themselves to the future of mankind, even imposing that risk on their own. What kind of judgment human beings make when they are put in the ultimate situation can only be understood by the parties, where actions that think that "if human beings are a common person, they will impair human dignity" , It could be the most appropriate choice. Traveling to Mars, a place not yet faced with humanity, seems to mean that human beings can step into the world of "the great voyage age" again.

ByAseem Choudhari

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