In the name of science, former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly shoved himself into the top of a rocket, accelerated to 17,500 mph, and fell around Earth for 340 days — nearly an entire year. The lack of gravity, radiation exposure, Kelly’s diet, and other facts of life in orbit affected his body.
His body has been affected in significant ways — including, as NASA is learning now, even perhaps his genetic blueprint.
The Twin Study, which is still in progress, uses Scott Kelly’s identical twin brother and fellow former astronaut, Mark Kelly, to unmask the subtle but important effects of long-duration space travel on the human body. Here are eight biological oddities that researchers have found happen to your body if you’re in space for a year.
Your face looks different
Your bone density can change
Your body fluids shift
Your sight could change
Your muscles can atrophy
You’ll be sleepy
Your cancer risk increases
You get taller — until you get back to Earth
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