Monday, March 19, 2018

Effects of Long Term Space Travel


 NASA’s study of the Kelly twins in determining the effects of long-term space travel on the human body has made major progress. Scott Kelly is an astronaut for NASA that has spent 340 days on the International Space Station (ISS). He had been sent into space to examine human health change for nearly a year. The benefit of using Scott in the experiment was that he has a twin brother, Mark, who remained on Earth. Previous investigations show that muscles and bones weakened, fluid shifted, and eyesight became permanently altered.
 The new test went further than previous studies, examining Scott physically, psychologically and genetically. Upon returning to Earth, some of Scott's changes disappeared within hours yet others persisted for at least six months. The test’s major findings include:
  • The ends of Scott's chromosomes had grown in length but returned to normal after two days on the ground.
  • Scott suffered from nutrient shifts, oxygen deprivation stress, and inflammation.
  • Close to 7 percent of Scott's genes had long-term changes such as his DNA’s ability to repair, changes to immune system, and the formation of his bones. The other 93 percent of his genes quickly returned to normal.
  • Scott had no significant cognitive performance decline in space after one year compared to Mark or astronauts who flew a six-month mission. However, decreases in Scott's cognitive speed and accuracy after he landed had been evident.
 NASA’s study using the Kelly twins allows us to further understand the effects that the first Mars astronauts will undergo as their flight time will be nearly three times as long.

Read more about this fascinating story at: https://www.space.com/39952-nasa-twin-study-spaceflight-health-effects.html
Or read the full press release at: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-twins-study-confirms-preliminary-findings

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