Author Topic: Astronaut Scott Kelly on the devastating effects of a year in space  (Read 9691 times)

Online mike robel

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Possibly the real reason:  Money.

A conspiratorial reason:  The Zero-G scientists don't want to research artificial gravity because it will put them all out of jobs.  :)

Online Jorge

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Possibly the real reason:  Money.

It's always about the money, even when it's "not about the money." Especially when it's "not about the money."
JRF

Offline vapour_nudge

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<delurk>
1) Scott Kelly's spaceflight is tied for fifth place for longest duration, with his crewmate Mikhail Kornienko. Four Russians have previously made longer spaceflights, between 1987 and 1998. They are all still alive. However "devastating" the effects of a year-long LEO spaceflight are, they apparently aren't bad enough to kill you within 20-30 years. Beyond-LEO radiation may be another story, but that's not what this article was about.
2) ISS centrifuge was designed for small mammals at most, not humans. Would have been only of indirect use to the human research program, and would have been expensive to get it to work without excessive vibration loads on the rest of ISS. Cancellation was the right call, IMO.
<lurk>
Should the thread title be modified to "'Astronaut Scott Kelly on the devastating effects of 11 months & 3 days in space" ? 😉
« Last Edit: 11/21/2017 06:37 AM by vapour_nudge »

Offline ncb1397

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Do we know if NASA and Russia are planning a new long duration mission?

Not until Commercial Crew vehicles show up...

Quote
HOUSTON—There is a strong desire within NASA’s human research community to launch more U.S. astronauts on “one-year” International Space Station missions. But more of the potentially record-setting flights—intended to reveal physical and psychological challenges associated with the agency’s human deep space exploration aspirations—are not planned until commercial crew operations are ...
http://aviationweek.com/space/more-yearlong-iss-missions-await-nasa-commercial-crew-ops

Article doesn't go into much detail about why this is the case. But you can guess that NASA doesn't want long duration crew members return to earth to be delayed in an uncontrolled manner by glitches with brand new vehicles.
« Last Edit: 12/12/2017 09:23 PM by ncb1397 »

Offline deruch

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With Cygnus' recent use for experiments post-ISS (Saffire) and the recent testing with Tangolab while berthed to station, it might be possible to send a Cygnus up fitted out with an experimental centrifuge apparatus inside.  It could berth to the station, have the astronauts prepare the experiment, then be unberthed and run the centrifuge as a free flying lab for a week or more.  Then, it could reberth to the station for experiment resets and maintenance.  Some shortish periods of microgravity while attached to station could possibly be a benefit as it would likely be a better model for any actual expected use of artificial gravity for humans.  But the capability to berth/unberth/reberth would be a major advantage as it would ensure adjustments and modifications were possible.  If the centrifuge was either small enough to fit through the Cygnus's hatch or able to be disassembled, then the whole contraption could be off loaded onto the station for storage between experiment runs on different Cygnus vehicles.  Cygnus could still be useful as a cargo delivery system (though maybe less lifting capability to allow enough propellant for multiple free flyer runs) with the apparatus being onloaded only once it was empty, etc.  The only thing the station would lose in that case would be the trash storage space of an empty Cygnus.
Shouldn't reality posts be in "Advanced concepts"?  --Nomadd

Offline Star One

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NASA study reveals 7 percent of astronaut's genes changed after year in space

Quote
NASA took advantage of the unique opportunity of having a set of twin brothers as astronauts by studying each to take a closer look at the effects on the human body after spending a year in space.

For those in the dark on the U.S. space agency's study, astronaut Scott Kelly and his twin brother, Mark Kelly, took part in NASA's "Twin Study." The study looked at what a year in space did to Scott Kelly while Mark Kelly spent the year on Earth.

"By measuring large numbers of metabolites, cytokines, and proteins, researchers learned that spaceflight is associated with oxygen deprivation stress, increased inflammation, and dramatic nutrient shifts that affect gene expression," NASA reports in its preliminary findings.

"After returning to Earth, Scott started the process of readapting to Earth's gravity. Most of the biological changes he experienced in space quickly returned to nearly his preflight status. Some changes returned to baseline within hours or days of landing, while a few persisted after six months."

http://www.mlive.com/news/us-world/index.ssf/2018/03/nasas_twin_study_altered_dna.html

Offline mikelepage

When I was at IAC 2017 in Adelaide, I attended the microgravity research symposium among others.  Very interesting sessions.

One thing I feel its worth pointing out that the general consensus of the NASA, ESA and Russian researchers there was that some form of spin gravity will be required in the future for long duration (>3 year) manned missions.  They may not have a lot of sway to influence the HSF programs yet, but I am fairly sure it will happen eventually. 

Why do many biologists seem to hold this view in spite of the relatively quick recoveries of long-duration astronaut stays in space? The reason for this in my opinion is because of an understanding of the way biological systems respond to stress.  Biological systems are (generally) heavily redundant, and if some fundamental process needs to happen, but cannot occur using the usual pathway (e.g. because a gravity induced osmotic-gradient is missing), some other process can be hijacked to take the load.  But these backup processes are not adapted for these tasks, so this alternate process results accumulative inefficiencies that lead to  thresholds beyond which they break down.

Sleep deprivation may be a good analogy here (different time-scales obviously).  We can all go without sleep if we need to.  We do not understand all the processes that occur during sleep, but there are obvious, accumulative changes that occur the longer it continues.  We also know that even a little sleep can go a long way to "recharging the batteries" so to speak.

We do know that many biological processes make use of gravitational potential energy to achieve certain tasks, but that in the absence of gravity at least some of these tasks can still be achieved.  But because these are non-standard processes, we assert there must be some threshold, somewhere beyond the 438 days that Valeri Polyakov achieve, where those processes will break down. 

Ergo, we need spin-gravity.  And if it is as big an engineering challenge as they say, we should get started on it.

Offline woods170

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When I was at IAC 2017 in Adelaide, I attended the microgravity research symposium among others.  Very interesting sessions.

One thing I feel its worth pointing out that the general consensus of the NASA, ESA and Russian researchers there was that some form of spin gravity will be required in the future for long duration (>3 year) manned missions.  They may not have a lot of sway to influence the HSF programs yet, but I am fairly sure it will happen eventually. 

Why do many biologists seem to hold this view in spite of the relatively quick recoveries of long-duration astronaut stays in space? The reason for this in my opinion is because of an understanding of the way biological systems respond to stress.  Biological systems are (generally) heavily redundant, and if some fundamental process needs to happen, but cannot occur using the usual pathway (e.g. because a gravity induced osmotic-gradient is missing), some other process can be hijacked to take the load.  But these backup processes are not adapted for these tasks, so this alternate process results accumulative inefficiencies that lead to  thresholds beyond which they break down.

Sleep deprivation may be a good analogy here (different time-scales obviously).  We can all go without sleep if we need to.  We do not understand all the processes that occur during sleep, but there are obvious, accumulative changes that occur the longer it continues.  We also know that even a little sleep can go a long way to "recharging the batteries" so to speak.

We do know that many biological processes make use of gravitational potential energy to achieve certain tasks, but that in the absence of gravity at least some of these tasks can still be achieved.  But because these are non-standard processes, we assert there must be some threshold, somewhere beyond the 438 days that Valeri Polyakov achieve, where those processes will break down. 

Ergo, we need spin-gravity.  And if it is as big an engineering challenge as they say, we should get started on it.

It is not a big engineering challenge. Up to now there was just no need for it. But spin-gravity systems are a well understood technology, as is the required rotary-seal technology.
What you don't want is NASA to develop it all on its own, because they will simply be reinventing the wheel, with all the unnecessary associated costs. Just let NASA set high-level requirements and let the industry specialists come up with fitting solutions.
« Last Edit: 03/15/2018 08:26 AM by woods170 »

Online speedevil

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Should the thread title be modified to "'Astronaut Scott Kelly on the devastating effects of 11 months & 3 days in space" ? 😉
"and return to a 1G environment".

Offline Lar

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Pedantry noted but I think the title of the thread is taken from the title of an external article.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline kch

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Pedantry noted but I think the title of the thread is taken from the title of an external article.

Exactly so:

Quote
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly spent a year in space. His recollections of this unprecedented test of human endurance, and the physical toll it took, raise questions about the likelihood of future travel to Mars.

http://www.theage.com.au/good-weekend/astronaut-scott-kelly-on-the-devastating-effects-of-a-year-in-space-20170922-gyn9iw.html

Edited extract from Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery by Scott Kelly (Doubleday, $35), published on October 19.

Article paints a pretty bad picture about the effects of long term microgravity on people. May not be a showstopper for short Mars missions but I am growing increasingly convinced that a true colonization will simply require natural gravity. Actual colonies with people living on them located on rotating space stations, Moon/Mars/asteroids for industry/science only. Thoughts?

Offline Negan

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Possibly the real reason:  Money.

A conspiratorial reason:  The Zero-G scientists don't want to research artificial gravity because it will put them all out of jobs.  :)

BFS/BFR, if it lives up to its expectations, could be a real test to see there's any truth to this. Low cost LEO AG experiments could surely be done utilizing BFS.

Online speedevil

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BFS/BFR, if it lives up to its expectations, could be a real test to see there's any truth to this. Low cost LEO AG experiments could surely be done utilizing BFS.
And lowish cost lunar.

Offline Star One

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This is related.

UNH Researchers Find Space Radiation is Increasingly More Hazardous

https://www.unh.edu/unhtoday/news/release/2018/03/15/unh-researchers-find-space-radiation-increasingly-more-hazardous

Online Coastal Ron

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Possibly the real reason:  Money.

It's always about the money, even when it's "not about the money." Especially when it's "not about the money."

I would say there is more money in artificial gravity space stations than there are in zero-G space stations. Especially after these revelations...
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

Online MATTBLAK

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I note with some bemusement that mainstream media is trying to say that the Kelly brother's DNA no longer matches after the long duration flight. I'm no biologist or geneticist, but I would have thought that actually isn't possible?! I mean; it's not like he's been exposed to huge levels of gamma radiation and is going to Hulk-out at any moment...
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Offline QuantumG

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Yeah, it's terrible reporting. Molecular biologists are rolling their eyes pretty hard.

Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Online Kansan52

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I note with some bemusement that mainstream media is trying to say that the Kelly brother's DNA no longer matches after the long duration flight. I'm no biologist or geneticist, but I would have thought that actually isn't possible?! I mean; it's not like he's been exposed to huge levels of gamma radiation and is going to Hulk-out at any moment...

Good point. I hadn't listened much to the hype but what is the typical difference between twins?

Plus, the articles I have read seem to blame any changes to stresses in microgravity, not radiation.

Online MATTBLAK

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I note with some bemusement that mainstream media is trying to say that the Kelly brother's DNA no longer matches after the long duration flight. I'm no biologist or geneticist, but I would have thought that actually isn't possible?! I mean; it's not like he's been exposed to huge levels of gamma radiation and is going to Hulk-out at any moment...
https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/03/scott-kelly-astronaut-space-station-dna-health-science/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Social&utm_content=link_fb20180315news-scottkellydna&utm_campaign=Content&sf184682126=1
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Online Coastal Ron

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I note with some bemusement that mainstream media is trying to say that the Kelly brother's DNA no longer matches after the long duration flight. I'm no biologist or geneticist, but I would have thought that actually isn't possible?! I mean; it's not like he's been exposed to huge levels of gamma radiation and is going to Hulk-out at any moment...

No "mainstream media" is not to blame:

No, space did not permanently alter 7 percent of Scott Kelly’s DNA - The Verge

Don't paint all media the same.

As to the topic at hand, a relevant quote:
Quote
Scientists studying Scott found that much of his gene expression changed while in space, and about 93 percent of his expression levels went back to normal when he got home. However, 7 percent of his genes related to the immune system, DNA repair, bone formation, and more were still a little out of whack when he returned. These genes are referred to as the “space genes,” according to NASA.
If we don't continuously lower the cost to access space, how are we ever going to afford to expand humanity out into space?

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