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Space travel And Health IELTS Reading Answers

Updated on 13 April, 2023

Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

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The IELTS examinations are again coming close. Students who wish to enroll in international universities must score well on this test. The IELTS test assesses a student's comprehension skills and language proficiency. For a better understanding of the question pattern and type, students must practice regularly using sample papers. The Space Travel and Health Reading sample is designed to support preparations so students can ace the test. 

A. Space biomedicine is a relatively new area of research both in the USA and Europe. Its main objectives are to study the effects of space travel on the human body, identify the most critical medical problems, and find solutions to those problems. Space biomedicine centers are receiving increasing direct support from NASA and/or the European Space Agency (ESA).

B. This involvement of NASA and the ESA reflects growing concern that the feasibility of travel to other planets and beyond is no longer limited by engineering constraints but by what the human body can withstand. The discovery of ice on Mars, for instance, means that there is now no necessity to design and develop a large and powerful spacecraft to transport the vast amounts of water needed to sustain the crew throughout journeys that may last many years. Without the necessary protection and medical treatment, however, their bodies would be devastated by the unremittingly hostile environment of space.

C. The most apparent physical changes undergone by people in zero gravity are harmless; in some cases, they are even amusing. The blood and other fluids are no longer dragged down towards the feet by the gravity of Earth, so they accumulate higher up in the body, creating what is sometimes called 'fat face`, together with the opposite 'chicken legs' syndrome as the lower limbs become thinner.

D. More serious are the unseen consequences after months or years in space. With no gravity, there is less need for a sturdy skeleton to support the body, resulting in the bones weakening and releasing calcium into the bloodstream. This extra calcium can overload the kidneys, leading ultimately to renal failure. Muscles, too, lose strength through lack of use. The heart becomes smaller, losing the power to pump oxygenated blood to all body parts, while the lungs lose the capacity to breathe fully. The digestive system becomes less efficient, a weakened immune system is increasingly unable to prevent diseases, and high levels of solar and cosmic radiation can cause various forms of cancer.

E. To make matters worse, a wide range of medical difficulties can arise in the case of an accident or severe illness when the patient is millions of kilometers from Earth. There is not enough room inside a space vehicle to include all the equipment from a hospital's casualty unit, some of which would not work correctly in space. Even basic things such as a drip depend on gravity to function, while standard resuscitation techniques become ineffective if sufficient weight cannot be applied. The only solution seems to be to create extremely small medical tools and 'smart` devices that can, for example, diagnose and treat internal injuries using ultrasound. The cost of designing and producing this kind of equipment is bound to be astronomical.

F. Such considerations have led some to question the ethics of investing vast sums of money to help a handful of people who, after all, are willingly risking their health in outer space, when so much needs to be done a lot closer to home. However, it is clear that every problem of space travel has a parallel problem on Earth that will benefit from the knowledge gained and the skills developed from space biomedical research. For instance, the difficulty of treating astronauts in space has led to rapid progress in telemedicine, which has brought about developments that enable surgeons to communicate with patients in inaccessible parts of the world. To take another example, systems invented to sterilize wastewater onboard spacecraft could be used by emergency teams to filter contaminated water at the scene of natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes. In the same way, miniature monitoring equipment, developed to save weight in space capsules, will eventually become tiny monitors that patients on Earth can wear without discomfort wherever they go.

G. Nevertheless, there is still one major obstacle to studying the effects of space travel: how to do so without going to the enormous expense of working in space. One tried and tested method to simulate conditions in zero gravity is to work underwater, but the space biomedicine centers are also looking at other ideas. In one experiment, researchers studied the weakening of bones that results from prolonged inactivity. This would involve volunteers staying in bed for three months, but the center concerned is confident there should be no great difficulty in finding people willing to spend twelve weeks lying down. AII in the name of science, of course.

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Questions 1-5 

Reading passage 1 has seven paragraphs A-G. Choose the correct heading for paragraphs B-E and G from the list of titles below. Write the valid number (i-x) in boxes 1-5 on your answer sheet. 

List of Headings 

  1. The problem of dealing with emergencies in space. 
  2. How space biomedicine can help patients on Earth 
  3. Why are accidents so common in outer space 
  4. What is space biomedicine?
  5. The psychological problems of astronauts 
  6. Conducting space biomedical research on Earth 
  7. The internal damage caused to the human body by space travel 
  8. How space biomedicine first began 
  9. The visible effects of space travel on the human body 
  10. Why space biomedicine is now necessary 

Answer (1) – x (Why space biomedicine is now necessary) 


In the second paragraph or Paragraph B of the Space Travel and Health Reading Answers, the author says that returning to space is no longer a problem due to engineering limitations. The primary issue is human health in outer space. Towards the end also, the author says that if proper medical equipment and teams are unavailable, the same can have irrecoverable health consequences given how hostile the outer space environment is. This shows how necessary space for biomedical research is. 

Answer (2) – ix (The visible effects of space travel on the human body) 

Explanation: According to Paragraph C of the Space Travel and Health Reading sample, the author talks about visible changes that outer space travel cause on the human body. From the get-go, mention is made of the first visible change, which is rather amusing. The blood accumulating towards the face due to zero gravity is the first change – the fat face situation. Then comes chicken legs syndrome since the lower half of the limbs become leaner. So, this paragraph is all about visible physiological changes. 

Answer (3) – vii (The internal damage caused to the human body by space travel)

Explanation: Paragraph D of the Space Travel and Health Reading sample starts by mentioning that the visible physiological changes are trivial compared to the other dangerous changes happening within the body over months and years of staying in space. Then the author mentions what those changes can be – calcium accumulating in the kidneys, bones weakening significantly, renal failure, heart becoming smaller, and decreased muscle strength. So, this paragraph is all about the internal damage of space travel. 

Answer (4) – i (The problem of dealing with emergencies in space)

Explanation: In the fifth paragraph of Paragraph E of the reading passage, the author carefully discusses the complications that health emergencies in space may cause. Many such examples are also mentioned, including drip not functioning due to lack of gravity. Then there is the problem of resuscitation in case the patient's body weight has reduced dramatically. This paragraph focuses heavily on the complications that space health emergencies cause.  

Answer (5) – vi (Conducting space biomedical research on Earth) 

Explanation: In the final paragraph or Paragraph G of the Space Travel and Health Reading sample, the author talks explicitly about how space biomedical research may be conducted on Earth. He mentions two experiments that may work – one is to experiment underwater for zero gravity situations and the other is to have volunteers lie down for 12 weeks straight to help study the weakening of bones due to extended periods of inactivity. 

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Questions 6-7 

Do the following statements agree with the writer’s views on the Reading Passage? Write –

YES - If the statement agrees with the views of the writer 

NO – If the statement contradicts the views of the writer 

NOT GIVEN – If there is no information about this in the passage 

8. The obstacles to going far into space are medical, not technological.

Answer – YES 

Explanation: The answer to this question may be found in Paragraph B of the Space Travel and Health Reading Answers. This paragraph begins as a continuation of the previous one, wherein the author says that the greater involvement of ESA and NASA in space biomedicine centers is raising concerns. In Paragraph B, the concerns are revealed – space travel limitations currently do not extend to engineering or technological issues but to medical reasons. This is implied by the sentence talking about the conditions that the human body can endure. Hence, the statement is true. 

9. Astronauts cannot survive more than two years in space. 

Answer – NOT GIVEN

Explanation: This question's answer may be found in Paragraph D of the Space Travel and Health Reading sample. In the previous paragraphs, the author addressed concerns about space travel. In Paragraph D, questions are raised on the effects of space on the human body after months and years of living there. The author mentions several adverse consequences, such as too much calcium in the bloodstream, weakened muscles, a smaller heart, and an inefficient digestive system. However, no mention is made of whether or not humans can survive in space for more than two years. 

10. Spending so much money on space biomedicine is morally wrong. 

Answer – NO

Explanation: Paragraph F of the Space Health and Travel Reading Answers answers this question. In the previous paragraph, the writer talks about the enormous sum space travel-related medical research would cost. In the paragraph in question, the author reveals that some people consider space travel-related biomedical research unethical investments. However, he further states that such research has value for medical science on Earth. Instances include advancements in telemedicine. Therefore, the statement contradicts what is given in the passage. 

11. Some kinds of surgery are more successful when performed in space. 

Answer – NOT GIVEN 

Explanation: A clue to this question's answer can be found in Paragraph F of the Reading passage. As the paragraph proceeds, the author says that investing in biomedicine research for space travel is helpful because it helps medical research on Earth. He gives the example of telemedicine. We also get to know that the way this has helped is it has enabled surgeons to communicate with patients in every part of the world. However, nowhere is mention of certain surgeries being more successful in space. 

12. Space biomedical research can only be done in space. 

Answer – NO 

Explanation: The answer to this question is available in Paragraph G of the Space Travel and Health Reading Answers sample. In this paragraph, the author mentions that it is possible to carry out biomedicine research for space travel on Earth itself. However, the same will involve huge expenses and out-of-the-ordinary experiments. An example is also given in the form of having volunteers lay in bed for three months straight to test the weakening of bones. Though the experiment seems impractical, at least the statement is true because space-related biomedicine research is possible on Earth. 

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Questions 13-14 

Complete the table below. Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each answer 

Research Area

Application in Space

Application on Earth


Treating astronauts

____________ in remote areas


Sterilizing wastewater

_______________ in disaster zones 


Saving weight 

Wearing small monitors comfortably


Answer for Question 13 – Communicate with patients 

Explanation: The answer to this question may be found in Paragraph F of the Space Travel and Health Reading Answers. In this paragraph, the author continues the debate on whether investing money in space-related biomedicine research is ethical. Then, the author justifies the spending, saying that this research has benefitted the Earth in several ways, one of which is the advancement of telemedicine. And the reason is that surgeons can now speak to people in previously inaccessible parts of the world. 

Answer for Question 14 – Filter contaminated water 

Explanation: The answer to this question can again be found in Paragraph F of the Space Travel and Health Reading sample. In this paragraph, the author first mentions advancements in telemedicine as one of the significant benefits of space-related biomedicine research. An example was how surgeons were able to communicate with patients in previously inaccessible parts of the world. Then, he offers another example – systems through which wastewater in the spacecraft was sterilized could also be used to fix contaminated water in sites of natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods. 

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