NASA "Twins Study" concludes by promoting signs for traveling to space



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What happens to your body after almost a year in space? Great. Most things return to normal when you return to Earth, but not all.

This is a very abstract summary of NASA's "twin studies", the results of which were published on Science Science Friday.

The study was accompanied by the physiological and cognitive changes of astronaut Scott Kelly, who spent 340 days in space, and then compared them to his twin brother, Mark Kelly, who is also a retired astronaut.

During the year, NASA collected and analyzed 317 samples of mud, blood and urine, both Marks and Scott's. They also tested things like twin memories, as well as their function of the heart and eyes. (Scott also received an influenza vaccine at an international space station – the first vaccine ever used in space – and his body responded appropriately. While on board the ISS, his immune system was much more active than his twin,).

Although 559 people went into space, only eight of them survived more than 300 consecutive days in orbit. This led to a lack of information on what is happening to the human body in microgravity over a long period of time – important information it will have if NASA is serious about sending people to Mars in the coming decades. A trip to the Red Planet takes about 300 days.

Scott returned to earth about three years ago and mostly returned to his usual self, NASA found, including his immune system, cognition and microbiology. But 7% of its gene expression has not yet returned to its pre-flight status, potentially due to DNA damage due to increased exposure to radiation.

Former astronaut Scott Kelly (right) and his twin brother, former astronaut Mark Kelly (left), are seen in this NASA


ROBERT MARKOWITZ via Getty Images

Former astronaut Scott Kelly (right) and his twin brother, former astronaut Mark Kelly (left), are visible in this photo given to NASA.

In the second genetic surprise, the ends of Scott's chromosome – a protective sequence, called telomeres – are actually extended in space. Usually, they become shorter when aging, and their length is associated with health risks associated with age, such as heart disease and cancer.

"So we definitely imagined we would go into the study that unique types of stress and extreme exposure to the environment, such as aerospace and microbiality, all these things will accelerate the loss of telomeres," said Susan Bailey, a researcher at Colorado State University and co-author of the survey, said at a press conference earlier this week. "We were surprised."

But Bailey warned that she did not hope NASA would come across an anti-aging drug.

"I do not think so [the elongation] we can really look like a fountain of young people and that people can expect to live longer because they are in space, "she said.

NASA found that Scott telomers shortened "in the days after landing" back to Earth. It is not clear why it is precise, although the interpretation can undoubtedly be terrestrial: Scott's diet in space contained more folate (vitamin B9), which probably played its role.

In general, researchers from NASA found an incentive.

"In short," Scott told Space.com, "from all these studies – and, provided that this is an experiment with one data point … it would be that anything we saw would not prevent us from going to Mars. "

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