One man comes back to tell the tale
Ever wonder what it would be like to live in space for a year? How do you think your body would react? As it turns out, when you travel to space and live there for a long period of time, your body can be affected. Astronaut Scott Kelly lived in space for 344 days as a part of a space travel project. The project was a way for space scientists to find out how space affects the body and mind.
So what did they find out from Scott Kelly? Adults usually don’t grow taller, but while Scott Kelly was in space, he did! It turns out that while in space the spinal discs that form your backbone expand because there is no gravity.(Unfortunately, those 1.5 inches that he grew in space shrunk right back down when he returned to Earth!) Scientists were also able to study how Scott’s mind and body responded to different sleep cycles since there is no real day or night in space, what being stuck in a small space for a long period of time does to a person, and much more.
On March 1st, Scott Kelly returned to Earth with a lot to share with his fellow space scientists. But the first thing he did when he returned home was jump into his swimming pool fully clothed. After all, he couldn’t take a single shower on the space station!
Update in April 2016
Scott Kelly, the astronaut who spent almost a year in space, decided to retire.
Update in February 2017
In addition to learning that Scott grew taller in outer space, it looks like his DNA changed as well. Blood samples from Scott and his identical twin brother, Mark (also a NASA astronaut, but who stayed on Earth) were collected throughout the experiment. When the samples were studied, scientists discovered that the ends of Scott’s chromosomes were longer than his brother’s.