Space travel is a dream for many. What, if you get a chance to travel to the moon or some planet? Well, your moonlighting dream can come true. And it surely would be a lifetime experience, the most thrilling one. But do you know what happens to your body when you travel in space?
According to NASA’s “Twin Study”, space travel causes massive changes in the gene expression. Space travel speed up the process of genes turning on and off, leading to massive changes in their expression, it says.
“Some of the most exciting things that we’ve seen from looking at gene expression in space is that we really see an explosion, like fireworks taking off, as soon as the human body gets into space,” principal investigator Chris Mason of Weill Cornell Medicine, Cornell University, New York said in a NASA statement.
The gene explosion begins as soon as an astronaut gets into space.
“We’ve seen thousands and thousands of genes turned on and turned off. This happens as soon as an astronaut gets into space, and some of the activity persists temporarily upon return to Earth,” Mason said.
The “Twin Study” research intensified when retired twin astronaut Scott Kelly returned to Earth in March 2016, and investigators collected samples from him and his twin brother, retired astronaut Mark Kelly.
“This study represents one of the most comprehensive views of human biology,” Mason said, adding, “It really sets the bedrock for understanding molecular risks for space travel as well as ways to potentially protect and fix those genetic changes”. The final results of the study are likely to be published in 2018.
(With inputs from agencies)