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What NASA plans to do if an astronaut dies in space

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posted on Apr, 10 2015 @ 08:50 PM
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Death is not a pleasant topic for anyone . No duh, right?

I came across this YahooNews article and I got a slow chill creep up my spine when I read this one.

NASA is kicking around a few ideas in procedures to determine what exactly to do with a human corpse on board a spaceship. The are having a few round table meetings and tossing out quotes such as:

"I'm not sure human bodies make particularly good fertilizer" and

"The most simple solution is to just pop the ship's airlock and send the body floating out into the vacuum of space like Spock's funeral in Star Trek."

Star Trek?

In reference to what to do with the body of an astronaut who has died in route, NASA has determined " it's not practical to keep a deceased human body on a spaceship during a long journey."

Not practical? Course not...



So here is the plan:



In his book "An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth," astronaut Chris Hadfield explains a chilling training exercise called a "death sim." It's designed to help prepare astronauts for what they should do in the event of the death of one of their colleagues.



The frozen body is hauled back on board and intensely vibrated around until it shatters. You end up with about 50 pounds of finely ground human body dust that you can hang outside your spacecraft until you arrive at your destination.

SOURCE


Your thoughts?




posted on Apr, 10 2015 @ 08:57 PM
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I don't know...my uncle died in upstate New York in the "dead" of winter.
They kept him on ice until the ground was suitable for burial...

Seems weird to me that they couldn't just do the same...



posted on Apr, 10 2015 @ 09:05 PM
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Dunno why dumping out a airlock is not the most simple solution.


Actually unless done outside of earths orbit that would be a stupid idea.
The corpse would just shoot round and round the earth and could end up takeing out a satilite or worse the ISS

edit on 10-4-2015 by crazyewok because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 10 2015 @ 09:05 PM
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a reply to: TNMockingbird

And do they just plug in their handy dandy ice maker or put him/her in cryostasis indefinitely?



posted on Apr, 10 2015 @ 09:10 PM
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Burial at sea was the norm when voyages lasted weeks or more. I don't understand why voyages in space would be different. Many old sailors still request burial at sea even though they haven't been near the ocean in years. I'm thinking of it myself.



posted on Apr, 10 2015 @ 09:12 PM
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originally posted by: crazyewok
Dunno why dumping out a airlock is not the most simple solution.


I imagine it would change the mass of the vehicle which could be catastrophic on orbital insertion at arrival.
edit on 10-4-2015 by greencmp because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 10 2015 @ 09:13 PM
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a reply to: crazyewok

According to the article it is the law of the cosmos prohibits the airlock launch of a body into space. No littering?



posted on Apr, 10 2015 @ 09:16 PM
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a reply to: greencmp

Excellent point! Does that mean no weight loss/gain either on the long journey?? Not that one would wake up and float to the fridge for that last piece of chocolate cake...



posted on Apr, 10 2015 @ 09:16 PM
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a reply to: Ultralight

After the many thousands of tons of junk that has already been placed in the solar system? Little late for this "cosmic law"!!



posted on Apr, 10 2015 @ 09:19 PM
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a reply to: Ultralight

Didn't they send the ashes of Mister Scott, the engineer from Star Trek, into space ?



posted on Apr, 10 2015 @ 09:19 PM
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originally posted by: Ultralight
a reply to: greencmp

Excellent point! Does that mean no weight loss/gain either on the long journey?? Not that one would wake up and float to the fridge for that last piece of chocolate cake...


As long as the mass of the whole vehicle remains the same and any fuel expenditures are completely and accurately accounted for.

You could pick up or drop things (not sure what to pick up on the way, maybe the Chinese Mars lander
) en route but, you would have to recalculate the entire journey.
edit on 10-4-2015 by greencmp because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 10 2015 @ 09:26 PM
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a reply to: Montana

Yeah, but there is no "man-made" debris in the outermost reaches of the cosmos, right? *wink-wink, nudge-nudge*

Sure a rogue satellite here and there...



posted on Apr, 10 2015 @ 09:26 PM
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Why not launch some corpses into space to test different methods to see actual results? People donate their corpses to science all the time.



posted on Apr, 10 2015 @ 09:34 PM
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a reply to: greencmp

So, if the human soul has tangible weight and causes a reduction of 2 lbs, say, after death...would such a small loss of weight cause recalc of the entire journey?

Also, factor in that very sickly persons usually lose weight due to inability to eat or lack of will, or even weight gain due to lack of mobility/excercise.



posted on Apr, 10 2015 @ 09:39 PM
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a reply to: Xcathdra

I think they are more concerned about death of an astronaut several years into a very long voyage. Is it practical to test in Earth's orbit and get anticipated results comparative to a death in deep space?



posted on Apr, 10 2015 @ 09:42 PM
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originally posted by: Ultralight
a reply to: greencmp

So, if the human soul has tangible weight and causes a reduction of 2 lbs, say, after death...would such a small loss of weight cause recalc of the entire journey?

Also, factor in that very sickly persons usually lose weight due to inability to eat or lack of will, or even weight gain due to lack of mobility/excercise.


From the perspective of the craft itself, there is no change in mass because any weight loss experienced by an individual will be in the form of waste and water which remains onboard.

It is only the act of discarding the body that alters the equation.
edit on 10-4-2015 by greencmp because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 10 2015 @ 09:54 PM
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a reply to: greencmp

Dehydration would not leave behind waste and we are comprised of somewhere north of 70% water?



posted on Apr, 10 2015 @ 09:55 PM
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originally posted by: TNMockingbird
I don't know...my uncle died in upstate New York in the "dead" of winter.
They kept him on ice until the ground was suitable for burial...

Seems weird to me that they couldn't just do the same...


Because that would involve having equipment designed for that process. Equipment which would use some of the ship's energy budget and take up space on board.

A lot of waste for what would essentially be sentimentality.



posted on Apr, 10 2015 @ 09:57 PM
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originally posted by: Ultralight
a reply to: Ultralight

Didn't they send the ashes of Mister Scott, the engineer from Star Trek, into space ?


Yes. Many have undergone Space Burial.


edit on 10-4-2015 by JadeStar because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 10 2015 @ 10:00 PM
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a reply to: JadeStar

Hmmmm, so there must be a real reason for this problem besides it being against cosmic law. Perhaps no means to cremate on board?

Gosh, this is both disturbing and perplexing at the same time.




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