Astronauts Are Sky-High—Figuratively

Space explorers have access to some high-test drugs, man
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2009 4:31 PM CST
An image provided by NASA shows the helmet visor of astronaut Michael Foreman, STS-129 mission specialist during a spacewalk Saturday Nov. 21, 2009.   (AP Photo/NASA)
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(Newser) – Space is full of unique challenges, and astronauts use contemporary pharmacology to meet them. Discovery News compiles a list of the drugs our ambassadors to space could be on right now:

  • Modafinil. A strong stimulant taken by astronauts when the mission calls for unnaturally long periods of wakefulness.
  • Scopolamine. Crew members suffering from zero-gravity nausea turn to ScopeDex, a mixture of scopolamine and the stimulant dexedrine. In large doses, scopolamine is a full-on mind-control hallucinogen.

  • Zolendronate. This drug—normally given to cancer patients—prevents bone loss, a risk for astronauts in zero gravity.
  • Anti-moon dust pills. These don't exist—yet. Dust tracked into a lunar base or ship from a moonwalk could be lethal, so scientists are devising drugs to combat the effects.
  • Tranquilizers. Any sci-fi fan should know it's not uncommon to become psychotic or suicidal in space, so most mission kits include a few tranquilizers in case a colleague becomes a risk.

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