How A Year In Space Changes Human Mind And Body

After 340 days in space astronaut Scott Kelly is back on Earth. We’ll explore what a year up there does to the human body and mind.

One-year mission crew members Scott Kelly of NASA (left) and Mikhail Kornienko of Roscosmos (right) celebrated their 300th consecutive day in space on Jan. 21, 2016. (Courtesy NASA)

One-year mission crew members Scott Kelly of NASA (left) and Mikhail Kornienko of Roscosmos (right) celebrated their 300th consecutive day in space on Jan. 21, 2016. (Courtesy NASA)

Astronaut Scott Kelly is back on Earth after 340 days in space, and being poked and prodded and tested every which way by NASA to learn the effect on the human body of all that time out there. He’s a great subject to study because he has an identical twin, Mark Kelly, who was on Earth all that time. This all matters because the body – and maybe mind – change plenty in space. And the US is committed to going to Mars in the 2030s. That’s a long trip. This hour On Point, space and the human body.

— Tom Ashbrook


Tariq Malik, managing editor of (@tariqjmalik)

Graham Scott, chief scientist, vice president and associate director at the National Space Biomedical Resarch Institute. Deputy project director for the NASA / NSBRI Twin Study.

Michael Massimino, professor of mechanical engineering at Columbia University. Former NASA astronaut. Senior advisor of space programs at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. (@Astro_Mike)

Wendy Bedwell, research scientist and assistant professor of indsutiral and organizational psychology at the University of South Florida. Currently working with NASA’s HI-SEAS project.

From Tom’s Reading List After Nearly a Year in Space, Astronaut Scott Kelly Would Love to Go Back — “Like all astronauts returning from space, Kelly is undergoing a recovery period. He described muscle aches and tiredness as his body re-adjusts to Earth gravity. Also, he said that his skin has not been used to touching anything for months, leading to the sensation of burning when he sits for long periods, for example.”

WIRED: Welcome Home, Scott Kelly. Now Let’s Go to Mars — “Successfully meeting the challenge of sending humans to Mars is also going to require continued progress in three other domains: advanced technologies for life support and habitation, power supply, radiation protection, in-space maintenance and repair, and propulsion; partnership between government and industry; and international cooperation.”

New Yorker: Moving To Mars — “For years, NASA has run experiments replicating the environments of space and alien planets. Rovers and robotics have been tested in the Arizona desert and in the Canadian Arctic. ‘Human factor’ studies in preparation for space-station duties have been carried out in a capsule at the Johnson Space Center and in an underwater lab off Key Largo. These days, the International Space Station provides an analogue for future long-duration missions.”

See A Collection Of Scott Kelly’s Best Photos From His Year In Space

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