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There's been a lot of talk about space travel in the news, a new mission to the moon, future missions to Mars, spacecraft that have traveled much further away than the red planet. But beyond what's technologically possible, what's physically possible? Scientists are studying what kind of effects space travel could have on the bodies of human space travelers.
Think about this, in six months, the average amount of time an astronaut spends onboard the International Space Station, you could never leave your spacecraft. You can't go outside. You can't feel raindrops or soak in the sun.
And your body changes. Astronauts have reported problems with their vision after working in orbit. They've experienced back pain and weakened muscles after missions. They're exposed to more radiation in space than they are on Earth, increasing their risks for developing cancer. And this is for a trip that lasts half a year.
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly spent almost twice that amount in orbit.
Preliminary results indicate that there were some changes in Scott's genetic expression, how his genes do their work within cells and even in after two years on Earth, they still haven't returned to where they were before he took off. That's just one lesson learned in NASA's "Twins Study", which allowed the organization to compare Scott Kelly's health with that of his identical twin brother Mark who stayed on Earth.