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Thread: The Worst Part of Going to Space? Your Fingernails Come Off

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    Default The Worst Part of Going to Space? Your Fingernails Come Off

    Oh, It Hurts Some astronauts report losing their fingernails on spacewalks because of bulky gloves that cut off circulation and chafe against their hands. To avoid this inconvenience, a couple astronauts have taken to ripping off their own fingernails before reaching orbit. NASA
    Did you think drinking your own urine was bad? To truly test whether you have the right stuff, imagine ripping out your own fingernails, on purpose.

    A couple of astronauts have done this before going into orbit, because they figure it’s better than losing them inside chafing, unwieldy spacesuit gloves, according to Dava Newman, director of MIT’s technology and policy program and director of the university’s Man Vehicle Lab. Newman, who has studied space-related injuries, told a group of journalists at MIT that some astronauts have reported losing their fingernails during spacewalks. Fingernail trauma and other hand injuries are spacewalkers’ biggest complaint, she said.

    In a forthcoming study, Newman says astronauts with big hands suffer the worst. National Geographic News explains that improved, custom-fitted gloves might be the solution.

    In a recent study of astronaut injuries, at least 22 reported lost fingernails, a phenomenon called fingernail delamination. It happens because of pressure on the fingertips, but researchers also think circulation cutoff could be to blame, NGN explains.

    Astronaut gloves are designed to simulate the air pressure on Earth, so they’re made of a pressurized rubber layer embedded in a thick, space-proof shell. Spacewalking astronauts must constantly fight against the bulky pressurized glove to do their work — imagine gripping a wrench while wearing skiing mittens, and you get the idea. This constant bending and flexing causes chafing, blisters and, apparently, fingernail loss.


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    Science, Rebecca Boyle, astronauts, international space station, space exploration, spacewalkers, spacewalking astronauts, spacewalksNASA has long known this is a problem, hence the agency’s two-time Astronaut Glove Challenge. Newman’s new study, which will be published in the October issue of Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, says astronauts’ varying hand widths are the biggest problem. For astronauts with wide hands, gloves are too tight where the fingers meet the palm, and this might cut off circulation to the fingertips, the study says. Circulation loss could explain why fingernails fall off.

    Customized gloves or new ones with robotic joints might be the best answer for these large-handed spacewalkers, as NGN reports.

    Newman’s lab also works on building less-bulky spacesuits that rely on mechanical counterpressure, and she believes gloves with actuators might be the way to go, NGN says.

    Frankly, we don't much care what it looks like — we just hope engineers can come up with something to make this aspect of spaceflight a little less torturous

    http://www.popsci.com/science/articl...ir-fingernails
    "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage of my life than to walk down the street and hear foot-steps and start thinking about a robbery. Then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved." - Jesse Jackson

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    Senior Member MarkMiller's Avatar
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    Aren't fingers important in space flight?

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    Senior Member CosmicRocker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trinnity
    Yikes........
    wonder why they couldn't tape around the nails, and cut them short -
    but not rip them off - protect them from abrasions,
    but the circulation problem would get worse.

    huh.


    Once disentangled, remain in the blissful state of ultimate tanglementlessness.

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    Administrator Bill Cosby's Avatar
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    Yea, I never heard that either???

    What about toenails??

    Will the preflight pedicure just go to waste??

    Will I get a refund or a manicure/pedicure allotment if I join the space team??

    I would think the bone loss the worst part..........

    Why does it degenerate in the zero gravity??
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    Senior Member T-Cat's Avatar
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    Astronauts are prone to cataracts. It can't be much fun going blind and then not being able to find your fingernails that fell off.
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    Administrator Bill Cosby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by T-Cat
    Astronauts are prone to cataracts. It can't be much fun going blind and then not being able to find your fingernails that fell off.
    I heard that a while back...........

    The radiation that causes that???
    We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions.
    Howard Zinn

    We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.

    Louis D. Brandeis

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    at least they have the opportunity to drop a bad habit while there
    "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage of my life than to walk down the street and hear foot-steps and start thinking about a robbery. Then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved." - Jesse Jackson

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    Senior Member T-Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Cosby
    I heard that a while back...........

    The radiation that causes that???
    Yes I think it is some sort of radiation exposure, cosmic rays etc.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    E-man proves atheism!

    Quote Originally Posted by Environment Man View Post
    Belief in God is the only logical conclusion for anybody with half a brain.
    Quote Originally Posted by Environment Man View Post
    0 = ∞
    Quote Originally Posted by Environment Man View Post
    The universe and the quantum world are infinite because God's power is infinite.
    1. 0 = ∞
    2. God's power is ∞
    3. Therefore God's power is 0
    4. A god with 0 power is not a god
    5. Therefore god cannot exist

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    Administrator Bill Cosby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wayers57
    at least they have the opportunity to drop a bad habit while there
    What habit is that??
    We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions.
    Howard Zinn

    We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.

    Louis D. Brandeis

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