The genetic and health profiles of Mark Kelly and Scott Kelly were compared during a “Twins Study” focusing on the effects of long-term spaceflight. (NASA Photo)
Ten research teams today shared comprehensive scientific results from an unprecedented experiment to gauge the health differences that developed between an astronaut who spent nearly a year in space and his identical twin down on Earth.
The study, published in the journal Science, traces the results of DNA tests and analyses of biological samples from Scott Kelly, who took on the 340-day mission on the International Space Station in 2015-2016; and from his brother Mark Kelly, a former astronaut who underwent parallel tests on Earth.
Many of the findings have been previously reported, but today’s open-access research paper and supporting materials provided broader context for the NASA Twins Study — and pointed to concerns that are likely to be addressed in future space experiments.
Previous reports have noted that Scott Kelly experienced changes in his medical condition during his long stint in space, but that most of those changes were reversed after his return. For example, the makeup of Scott’s gut microbiome shifted, perhaps due to a change in diet, and then shifted back ...