News about space
There are many news about space recently:
- Chinese rover analyzes moon rocks: First new ‘ground truth’ in 40 years
- Our first view of a black hole
Newly landmark research published in science from NASA, which took place from 2015-2016, reveals some interesting, surprising and reassuring data about how one human body adapted to -- and recovered from -- the extreme environment of space, 11th April.
What’s NASA's landmark Twins Study?
Identical twin astronauts, Scott and Mark Kelly, are subjects of NASA’s Twins Study. Scott (right) spent a year in space while Mark (left) stayed on Earth as a control subject. Researchers looked at the effects of space travel on the human body.
What Scott has experienced in space for 340 days?
Telomeres: The ends of each strand of DNA (also known as deoxyribonucleic acid; a nucleic acid in the cell’s chromosomes, containing the cell’s coded genetic instructions) have special features called telomeres. Scott experienced a change in telomere length dynamics during spaceflight and within days of landing. Results from this investigation may help to evaluate general health and identify potential long-term risks.
Immunome: Scott received three flu vaccines, each one year apart; first on Earth, second in space (the first time an astronaut was given a vaccine while in space), and third back on Earth. This study found that Scott’s body reacted appropriately to the vaccine. This is a significant finding because it allows NASA to have greater confidence that the immune system responds appropriately in space, should a vaccine ever be needed, during long-duration missions.
Gene Expression: Samples taken before, during and after Scott’s mission in space revealed some changes in gene expression. Mark also experienced normal-range changes in gene expression on Earth, but not the same changes as Scott. Changes Scott experienced may have been associated with his lengthy stay in space. Most of these changes (about 91.3%) reverted to baseline after he returned to Earth; however, a small subset persisted after six months. Some observed DNA damage is believed to be a result of radiation exposure. Gene expression data corroborated and supported other findings in the Twins Study, including the body’s response to DNA damage, telomere regulation, bone formation and immune system stress. These findings help demonstrate how a human body was able to adapt to the extreme environment of space and help researchers better understand how environmental stressors influence the activity of different genes, leading to a better understanding of physiological processes in space.
The unique aspects of the Twins Study created the opportunity for innovative genomics research, propelling NASA into an area of space travel research involving a field of study known as "omics," which integrates multiple biological disciplines. Long-term effects of research, such as the ongoing telomeres investigation, will continue to be studied.
Twin studies provide a way for scientists to explore how our health is impacted by the environment around us, independent of the physical variations that naturally occur between most of us as individuals. Scott provided a test case to measure in space, and Mark provided a baseline test case to compare those measurements on Earth.
Original title：NASA's landmark Twins Study reveals resilience of human body in space