We have completed maintenance on DiscoverMagazine.com and action may be required on your account. Learn More

Astronauts Are Hotter in Space

By Amber Jorgenson
Jan 10, 2018 9:49 PMNov 20, 2019 5:06 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Research shows slow but steady increases in astronauts’ core body temperatures during their time at the ISS. (Credit: NASA/STS-130 Crew) A great amount of time and effort is spent ensuring the mental and physical well-being of astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS), and new research shows that increased body temperature is another factor to consider when evaluating astronauts’ health. In the study, published January 5 in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers at Charité — Universitätsmedizin Berlin found that the resting body temperatures of astronauts aboard the ISS increased to about 100.4°F (38°C) over time, a noteworthy jump from the 98.6 °F (37°C) average. Even larger surges were noted during periods of physical activity, with recorded temperatures of over 104°F (40°C). Professor Dr. Hanns-Christian Gunga, Deputy Director of the Institute of Physiology, and his team of researchers used sensory technology to record the gradual but significant increase in body temperature over a 2.5-month period. "We developed a new technology which combines a skin surface temperature sensor with a heat flux sensor, and which is capable of measuring even minor changes in arterial blood temperature," said Professor Gunga in a press release. The team used the sensors to measure the astronauts’ core body temperatures during periods of physical activity and rest before, during, and after their stay on the ISS. The results show that the increase in core temperature is caused by the body’s weakened ability to eliminate excess heat during weightlessness. Furthermore, the researchers found that the evaporation of sweat occurs more slowly, explaining the substantial spike in body temperature during ISS physical activity tests. Identifying this possible threat to space travelers will help scientists address and curb any physical and cognitive risks that are associated with drastic changes in body temperature, potentially increasing the health and well-being of astronauts during prolonged space missions.

This post originally appeared in Astronomy.com.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2024 Kalmbach Media Co.