NASA is Working on New, Safer Sleeping Bags for Astronauts

Jan, 2022 - By WMR

NASA is Working on New, Safer Sleeping Bags for Astronauts

To prevent the vision problems that occurred during the use of sleeping bags in space, the scientist developed a new design for the sleeping bag.

Astronauts who use traditional sleeping bags on space missions will develop a vision disability in the future. This phenomenon has been caused many times once the astronaut returns from a space mission. These astronauts have suffered from blurry vision, dry eyeballs, and swelling in the inner veins of their eyes. This causes permanent damage to the eyes. Most of these problems have occurred because of the wrong positioning of the sleeping bag in zero gravity.

In the zero-gravity environment of space, the sleeping bags are used to stabilize the bodies of astronauts. In that way, the body tends to lie in a steady position for a long period. But the liquids in the body tend to work differently in this condition. The constant flow of blood to the vital organs becomes irregular in nature. The eyeballs are also affected by these irregularities. Mostly, they cause swelling and clotting inside the eye socket. To prevent that, scientists at the University of Texas designed a prototype sleeping bag that helps to stabilize the blood flow inside the body.

This prototype of this sleeping bag contains stable body armor that covers the cavity around the person. Along with that, the prototype provides extra protection for the headspace of the person. The prototype has a solid frame shaped like a space capsule, which can easily fit over a person. The frame is made of a wood-like material composed of synthetic polymers, which is mostly light in weight.

While designing the prototype for the sleeping bag, the team has consulted with former astronauts, ophthalmologists, neurologists, and various space structure engineers. Then the final product is tested in regular gravity and also in zero gravity chambers. The results of the tests have been satisfactory enough to present this prototype to the building team of NASA. The implementation of this prototype will happen on upcoming space missions of the agency.

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