New hi-tech sleeping bag to stop astronauts' eyeballs from squashing

Researchers will be able to save astronauts' eyeballs from getting squashed while in zero gravity with this new sleeping bag.

1 minute & 7 seconds read time

A new sleeping bag has been developed that may prevent one of the most serious medical issues that come from prolonged stays in zero gravity.

New hi-tech sleeping bag to stop astronauts' eyeballs from squashing 01

A study published in 2011 in the journal American Academy of Ophthalmology detailed that astronauts who had prolonged stays of six months or more could risk having their vision impacted with flattened eyeballs, swollen optic nerves, and a general decrease in eyesight quality. The study details that a lack of gravity causes a build-up of fluid pressure around the brain, which can put pressure on the eyeballs and results in a medical condition called neuro-ocular syndrome.

As a way to solve this problem, researchers have developed a sleeping bag that is essentially a large vacuum. In a new study published in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology, researchers detail testing on a dozen participants over three days with and without the sleeping bag, and according to the study's results, the new hi-tech sleeping bags were found to prevent the body fluids from building up and changing shape of eyeballs.

"We don't know how bad the effects might be on a longer flight, like a two-year Mars operation. It would be a disaster if astronauts had such severe impairments that they couldn't see what they're doing and it compromised the mission," said Dr. Benjamin Levines from the University of Texas Southwest Medical Center and lead of the team behind the new sleeping bag.

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