NASA proved theory about effects of long-term space travel.
Last year, NASA believed they discovered changes that an astronaut could go through after long-term space travel. This followed Astronaut Scott Kelly’s first year on the International Space Station. Once he returned in February 2017, scientists discovered small changes to Kelly. They included things like elongation of the ends of his white blood cells. This elongation slowly dissipated as he spend more time home on Earth. One of the reasons they were able to so closely monitor these changes, is because Kelly had a twin who stayed on the ground during his journey. Scott’s identical twin, Mark, acted as a baseline for the study as he remained on Earth. Mark spent his time in space as well, completing four separate missions. Scott, however, became one of the first astronauts to spend a year in space.
NASA studied the effects even more. The most notable changes show that up to 7% of Scott’s DNA may have long term effects including his immune system, hypoxia, and DNA repair. The other 93% seemed to return to normal quickly. They plan to release a complete report on their study including the follow-up findings over the past year.
The longer trips in space are in preparation to traveling in Mars.