Not your average piece of eyewear.
Do Not Avert
Now that's an unnerving gaze.
Astronauts gearing up for SpaceX's private Polaris Dawn mission have recently puzzled netizens with their strange, almost creepy eyes that look straight out of "Minority Report."
"What's with the weird Photoshop in each Polaris Dawn crew member's eye?" asked one confused Redditor.
And no, these astronauts don't owe their uncanny looks to a bad Photoshop job, but something way cooler: high tech contact lenses.
Anna Menon, one of the mission's astronauts and lead space operations engineer at SpaceX, took to Twitter to provide a clear close up of the cyberpunk-looking contacts. In the video, you can see a halo-like ring of light that outlines the inside of her pupils, with a noticeable but small white rectangle reflecting brightly within it, in what's likely responsible for the white speck in the eye in pictures from afar.
"Eye will be back… for research," Menon tweeted, with the "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" theme blaring in the video to boot.
Eye will be back…for research. Polaris Dawn will carry with us on our mission 38 experiments from 23 partner institutions, including this device that measures intraocular pressure through a contact lens. See https://t.co/VHKqpel7BB for more! pic.twitter.com/QBGqziW4Ij
— Anna Menon (@annawmenon) October 24, 2022
According to Menon, the specialized contact lenses will be worn by all the astronauts to measure intraocular pressure. It's part of a University of Colorado Boulder study into the recently discovered affliction called spaceflight associated neuro-ocular syndrome.
SANS, as it's more readily known, causes swelling of the optic nerve, changes in the eye's shape and structure, and as a result of all that, can blur astronauts' vision. Its long term effects aren't well known, nor are its causes, but by having the astronauts wear the micro-sensor equipped "smart" contact lenses, scientists hope to measure how the eye adapts once it enters microgravity.
The current theory maintains that fluid shifts in the eye and brain are responsible for SANS symptoms, which the scientists believe could be confirmed from the contact lenses' data.
And if the data doesn't pan out, the contact lenses at least make a unique piece of astronaut fashion.
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