Space Blindness in ‘Away’ is a real concern for NASA


Men’s health

Space blindness – loss of vision in a zero gravity (or microgravity) environment – is not just a dramatic plot point for Netflix’s Mars Odyssey, away; Space blindness (or rather “loss”) is an actual documented phenomenon experienced by astronauts.

In fact, about two-thirds of astronauts report problems with eye light after months on the International Space Station. One astronaut reported that his frailty deteriorated so much that he could not read the words on the landing checklist.

Between 2015-2016, American astronaut Scott Kelly spent a year on the International Space Station. (His experience serves as the basis for Netflix away.) During that year, parts of Kelly’s retina became really thick. He also experienced swelling in the blood supply behind his eye. (Kelly’s strong vision was one of the reasons she was first selected as an astronaut.)

NASA’s former human research program chief scientist Mark Shelmer noted in an interview Air and space For some, the loss is also sluggish After Returning from space and usually required an astronaut who stayed there for about six months. Lots of unknowns exist when it comes to vision loss that lasts for more than six months in space (and, for an imaginary trip to Mars, for more than a year). Some research still suggests that to prevent vision problems, astronauts may need artificial gravity.

Photo Credit: NASA - Getty Image
Photo Credit: NASA – Getty Image

So Meesha is being ordered to stay in her crew cabin to help restore her vision and not have an unexpected order on an extended space flight.

What causes space blindness?

The causes of the vision defect are not known for sure, although researchers have several theories. One theory suggests that because the fluid in the body arises from zero gravity (think of the blossoming face of astronauts in space), all excess fluid in the skull can create pressure behind the eye.

Testing the theory, researchers found that oxidative stress caused by microgravity (or weak gravity) can damage blood vessels in the eye. If they can find a way to combat oxidative stress, perhaps they can protect the vision of astronauts.


In the universe of Netflix away, It does not appear that the problem was ever solved. The counter-argument instead was simply artificial gravity. But as it can take months for the vision to return, locking a blind astronaut in his room does not seem to be the best strategy for a 3-year-long mission to Mars.

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