The NASA twins study is another breakthrough for science, this time in the field of genetics, not of physics or astronomy.
NASA used two astronauts, Mark and Scott Kelly, since they were twins and shared the same DNA; this allowed the space agency to explore how space affects the human body. One of the study's subjects, Scott Kelly, revealed his reaction to the study findings on the weekday show Marketplace Tech.
Space travel poses several threats to astronauts, hence, the limited number of manned missions. Threats start right from when the rocket takes off, and the latest findings by NASA suggest that the building blocks of life changes after exposure to outer space.
While it's possible for the DNA differences to be a temporary effect on the human body, NASA's findings reveal otherwise. Approximately 7 percent of Scott Kelly's DNA change while he was in space. So, 7 percent of his DNA was altered permanently, while the remaining 93 percent reverted to normal as his body adapted to living on Earth.
"I did read in the newspaper the other day… that 7 percent of my DNA had changed permanently," Kelly said. "And I'm reading that, I'm like, 'Huh, well that's weird.'"
Kelly, who retired from NASA in 2016, had much to say about the risks associated with space flight. According to him, his job is like any other profession which entails risks.
"We're exposing ourselves to risk … you decide the risk of driving to work is worth it because you have to get to work. My work just happened to be in space."
NASA Johnson Space Center's deputy chief of space and occupational medicine, Shannan Moynihan, acknowledged the struggles of treating astronauts through telemedicine.
"Telemedicine really is our only resource. Unfortunately we don't get to make house calls. I've tried that, it didn't fly."