Astronauts Have Lower Mortality Rates Than The General Population

Indira Datta - Jan 01, 2019

Astronauts Have Lower Mortality Rates Than The General Population

Both MLB players and astronauts had a lower risk of premature death than the general population

It has always been known that being in space can bring about a lot of health risks. Cosmonauts are exposed to high radiation levels than us. Moreover, after coming back from space, they have also claimed to suffer from partial blindness. However, we never really knew whether astronauts might die prematurely because of their jobs.

A mortality researcher, Robert Reynolds, says:


Astronaut In Space Plain
Astronauts have better health than an average American

Fortunately, Robert was able to find a person who met his criteria. Astronauts tend to have better physical conditions than an average American citizen. They also get to access better healthcare. This makes the process of studying the mortality of an astronaut more difficult.

However, their physique is that much of difference when compared to that of basketball or baseball players from NBA (National Basketball Association) and MLB (Major League Baseball). These players also have great physical traits. They are also wealthy and can access to excellent healthcare with leading medical professionals.

Top 25 Under 25 1
Both athletes and astronauts have a lower risk of premature death than the general population

Reynolds with his colleagues at Mortality Research & Consulting, Inc. published detailed research comparing data of male astronauts with MLB and NBA athletes in the United States between 1960 and mid-2018. This study was published in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

Through this research, they concluded that space travelers as well as basketball, and baseball athletes have low mortality rates compared to average American citizens. The number of astronauts died from cardiovascular diseases is lower than athletes. For death caused by cancer, these two groups have the same rate.

Reynolds argues that:


Through this study, we learn more about how space travel affects astronauts. However, many other things are still mysteries for us. For example, the impact of space on spacemen differs from spacewomen. So does that mean they have a lower death rate compared to the general population?

For 57 years, we have been taking people out into space, but the number of astronauts making the trip is only about 600 people. This figure is too little for us to study and to make an accurate conclusion on astronauts' mortality rates.

Space Explorer
The premature mortality rates of astronauts will likely change in the future

A radioactive biochemist named Francis Cucinotta told Reuters that just because there is currently no connection between space travel and premature death in space travelers does not mean that it would be the same for the future. Cucinotta also mentioned that crewed missions into Mars are in progress. Those would put cosmonauts in exposure to radiation 50 to 100 times higher compared to last space missions.

Radiation is just one of any other factors that can affect astronauts' mortality including Martian dust and mental stress from traveling too long in space.  Therefore, we need to do more research on this before we send anyone on off-world missions.


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