Written by IEEE | March 2, 2016 | Updated: March 30, 2017
For an entire year, one very important man has been circling around our outer atmosphere. Astronaut Scott Kelly has been on a mission, circling Earth for a year, as a test-case for scientists to better understand the effects of long-term space travel on the body. Kelly is the first American to spend a year in space as a resident on the International Space Station. He arrives back on Earth today and we are very excited to congratulate him on a successful mission.
Leaving our oxygen-filled planet can cause significant changes for the human body. NASA wants to understand and study these ailments as a means to finding realistic solutions. Known medical and psychological issues that are a result of living outside Earth include: bone loss, nausea, muscle atrophy, radiation exposure, headaches, bad sleep, and poor balance. Not all ailments are permanent – some are said to improve upon return to the planet. Luckily for Scott Kelly, he’s not a newbie to space travel. He has been on three other missions, each lasting about six months. As a result, he’s aware of potential lingering health woes, and has selflessly loaned his body to science for this extended study.
Scott Kelly isn’t the only member of his family affiliated with NASA. In fact, he has a twin brother who also was an astronaut. Mark Kelly serves as the control sample for this experiment. Using data collected from one twin’s life on earth and the other’s life in space, scientists will be able to test a myriad of health issues.
While data has not been released during Kelly’s stay in space, we look forward to the next phase of the study where the tests and research will be analyzed and the public will start to understand the ways that space travel impacts the human body.