[Flash Forward] What To Expect When You’re Expecting In Space

What To Expect When You’re Expecting In Space

06/11/2018 by Rose Eveleth

Web player: http://podplayer.net/?id=58158219
Episode: https://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/traffic.megaphone.fm/PPY6374085037.mp3

If humans want to really have a go at leaving Earth and living in space or on other planets, we’re going to have to figure out a lot of things: spaceships, food supplies, fuel, how to keep everybody from killing one another. But one thing seems to be frequently left out of the picture, when it comes to distant space travel research: reproduction. It turns out we know very, very little about what pregnancy in space might look like, or whether it’s even possible at all.

Guests
Maggie Koerth-Baker: senior science writer at FiveThirtyEight
Kim Stanley Robinson: science fiction author of the Mars trilogy, The Years of Rice and Salt, 2312, Aurora and others, including a new book Red Moon.
Anicca Harriot: PhD student at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, advocate for STEM outreach

→ → → Further reading and sources available at flashforwardpod.com ←←←

Listen Date: 2018-11-15 (?)

The super interesting things I learned in this episode:

  • Astronauts have to pee on a schedule / calendar because without gravity, they have no way of knowing that their bladder is two thirds full; and they only realise it when it is catastrophically close to bursting
  • Menstruating astronauts go on the pill so that they don’t have period while in space
  • Miscarriage is emotionally devastating not just because you’re sad that you’re not having your baby; but because it sends your hormones into a tailspin
  • The idea that disabled people on Earth might be better off in space, and that NASA’s selection process means we can’t find out

I’m surprised that the last segment about how babies born in space would have different muscle development because of microgravity didn’t refer to Superman at all.

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