Longer periods in which astronauts are are not in a gravitational field induce an increase in body temperature compared to a persistent fever.
Researchers at a Berlin university clinic called Charité have concluded that low gravity leads to an increase in body temperature with a Celsius degree, writes The Independent.
This change occurs gradually over two and a half months.
Since small body temperature changes can have significant negative effects on the body and cognitive performance, the new discovery may have consequences in terms of long-term space travel, including missions on Mars.
To reach this conclusion, the researchers studied 11 astronauts before, during, and after they were in the International Space Station.
The temperature of the astronauts was monitored, both during physical exercise and during rest periods. Exercises are essential to keep astronauts physically trained, but during these physical activity periods, scientists have noticed that astronaut temperatures even exceed 40 degrees Celsius. Such a temperature can be life-threatening.
However, the most notable discovery was that there was a rise in body temperature even in the rest period.
“Under impenetrability conditions, our bodies have serious problems in eliminating excess heat”, said Hanns-Christian Gunga, a scientist at Charité and lead author of the study. In other words, low gravity causes perspiration to evaporate more slowly, and loss of sweat is a key factor in fever.
The team also said that space flight can induce a similar inflammation to that produced by the immune system in an infection that also affects body temperature.