What NASA’s twin study actually taught us about living in space

Popular Science | 10/20/1977 | Staff
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Twin studies are the closest scientists can get to putting a person in two places at once. But they are also hard to come by: Identical twins are relatively rare (just three to four per thousand births worldwide). Even rarer are identical twin pairs that are astronauts. In fact, right now, just one set exists: Scott and Mark Kelly.

Over the past few years, the brothers have participated in what’s now called the NASA Twin Study: A first-of-its kind longitudinal study in which one brother (Scott) spent a year onboard the International Space Station (ISS) and the other (Mark, who had already retired from spaceflight) spent those same 12 months on Earth. That year, and in the ones that followed, the pair provided blood, urine, and stool samples—in addition to undergoing a slew of physiological and medical tests—to help researchers understand how the human body responds to life in space. The most recent results were published this week in the journal Science.

Roadblock - Space - Body - Changes - Spaceflight

A major roadblock to understanding how space affects the human body is that it’s incredibly difficult to blame any changes that occur on spaceflight alone. For example, a slight mutation in an astronaut’s DNA could have been from time spent in zero gravity or excess radiation, or it could be from any number of environmental conditions that...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Popular Science
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