Science: Red Light for Oxygen

As modem aircraft climb toward the stratosphere, oxygen masks and pressurized cabins become a necessity. The trouble is that now & then something goes wrong with the man-made atmosphere. And one of the first symptoms of hypoxia (insufficient oxygen)* is a giddy self-assurance, a fine feeling that all's right with the world. Many unexplained crack-ups may have been caused by pilots in euphoria, blissfully unaware that their skill and judgment were failing with their failing oxygen.

This week, at the Air Force's School of Aviation Medicine, scientists were busy perfecting an accurate little gadget that will warn the high-altitude flyer when the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!