What traveling into space does to astronauts’ brains, hearts and muscles

What traveling into space does to astronauts’ brains, hearts and muscles

In September 2021, four crew members of SpaceX’s Inspiration4 mission made history as the first all-civilian crew to orbit Earth. During their three-day stay in space, they not only broke barriers in space exploration have provided extensive data on the effects of brief space travel on the human body.

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The Inspiration4 crew, consisting of physician Haley Arceneaux, engineer Chris Sembroski, geoscientist Sian Proctor and billionaire entrepreneur Jared Isaacman, underwent extensive testing before, during and after the flight. Blood, saliva and skin biopsy tests, among others, were carried out, providing a detailed look at the effects of space travel on the human body.

studies, Published in Naturehave revealed significant changes in important structures such as Brain, heart, muscles, kidney and skin. Changes were observed in immune regulation and stress levels, as well as in mitochondria, the “powerhouses” of cells.

That is the encouraging aspect of the research More than 95% of the monitored biomarkers returned to their pre-flight levels in the months following the crew’s return.. This presents a good opportunity for other citizens who plan to live and work in space. However, some abnormalities persisted, particularly in mitochondria. So far, women seem to return to baseline (pre-flight) faster than men, but the differences are very small.

Advances in this research also compared data from the Inspiration4 mission with data from 64 astronauts who participated in long missions on the International Space Station (ISS) and other missions. This allowed us to analyze the effects of high levels of radiation, as Inspiration4 flew about 590 km above Earth, higher than the ISS.

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ESA is working to establish habitable lunar bases.ESA is working to establish habitable lunar bases.

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Preparing to travel to other worlds

Collection of manuscripts, data, protocols and codes Space Omics and Medical Atlas (SOMA) represents the largest collection of data on space medicine and space biology. More than 100 companies from over 25 countries have come together for a concerted launch in 2024. Includes molecular, cellular, physiological, phenotypic, and spaceflight data.

The research, which included analysis of samples collected from all civilian crew members of the INSPIRATION4 mission, revealed gene expression responses related to DNA damage, immune function, mitochondrial dysfunction, frailty, sarcopenia, accelerated health risks in multiple organs, and telomere regulation. Consistent with previous work.

Second Space Age

The beginning of this “second space age” is marked by the rise of commercial missions, which has intensified the urgent need to understand and reduce health risks to astronauts. As more private companies enter space, researchers are taking a proactive approach to identifying and addressing the unique challenges presented by the space environment. Among these challenges, one of the most important is exposure to cosmic radiation, Can have devastating effects on the human body in the long run.

In response to this threat, the scientific community has redoubled its efforts to study the mechanisms by which space radiation affects cells and tissues. This research group not only seeks to understand potential harms, but also to develop strategies to prevent or mitigate them. One of the most promising findings of these studies is the identification of some molecules involved in the regulation of spatially restricted gene activity. The discovery opens the door to developing specific countermeasures that could protect astronauts from the harmful effects of radiation..

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Studies have revealed that microgravity and space radiation alter gene expression, affecting fundamental processes such as DNA repair and cell proliferation. These changes can lead to an increased risk of cancer and other health problems. However, scientists have identified several key molecules that, when properly administered, can restore normal gene function and improve the body’s resistance to radiation.

Furthermore, research in this area has the potential to benefit not only astronauts. But for humanity as a whole. Treatments developed to protect humans in space may translate into innovative treatments for diseases on Earth, particularly those related to cell damage and radiation.

The second space age invites us to overcome unprecedented obstacles, but it also offers unprecedented opportunities for scientific and technological progress. Public-private collaboration, along with a proactive approach by researchers, promises to not only make commercial spaceflight safer, but also advance our understanding and ability to treat diseases on Earth.


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