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Are people suitable for space? The study of "Hercules' twins" can say that no

Here's how you check your intracranial pressure in space. First, you collect original blood samples, saliva and urine, and also take ultrasound images of blood vessels in your heart, neck, head and eyes, by building a scanning device on black spots tattooed on your body before you leave the Earth.

Then, you break in Chibis, the Russians for "lapwing", a pair of solid corrugated rubber pants, whose waist can be sealed. Cowards sucks: vacuum simulates how gravity on Earth draws blood, mucus, water in the cells, and cerebral and lymphatic fluids from our skulls to the lower half of the body.

astronauts develop red, loose faces and complain of overload or pressure in the ears. There are worse effects: 40 percent of the astronauts who lived at the International Space Station suffered some eye damage, including swelling of the optic nerve, smoothing out the globe and folds in the vasculature, a blood-filled layer between the retina and white sclera. NASA suggests that intracranial pressure is a possible explanation for what it calls "space-related cosmic syndrome," and has developed a test to measure fluid movements to the astronauts' heads and eyes.

t. One day the Russian astronaut lost consciousness when his heartbeat fell. His crews thought he had a heart attack. Another time, the astronaut who worked on the control, too much reduced the pressure ̵

1; increased sucking, and the astronaut felt that "how I could bring my guts in the most unpleasant way."

Jason Pontin


Jason Pontin ( @jason_pontin ) is a participant of the idea for WIRED. He is a senior partner at Flagship Pioneering, a Boston company that builds, builds and finances companies that address health, nutrition and sustainability issues. From 2004 to 2017 he was editor in chief and publisher MIT Technology Review . Prior to that, he was editor of Red Herring business magazine, which was popular during the boom of dotcoms. Pontin does not write about the company's flagship portfolios, nor about its competitors.

But if nothing goes wrong, you are traced in a suit for several hours, taking more ultrasound images. You are checking for arterial pressure. You measure the cochlear fluid with the instrument in your ear and record the intraocular pressure by pressing the pressure gauge on an anesthetized apple. You scan the eyeball with a laser to visualize choroid folds and swelling of the optic nerve.

"Fluid Changes" experiment was performed by astronaut Scott Kelly, when he lived at the ISS from March 27, 2015, until March 1, 2016. The longest space flight of an American. At the same time, his twin brother Mark, as well as the cosmonaut, checked his intracranial pressure on the Earth.

Over the course of 25 months, the brothers were subjected to parallel practice of cognitive and physical tests, including the dorsal crane for Scott. lab before, during and after the mission. In total 317 samples of feces, urine and blood from both twins were collected and analyzed for the analysis of their epigenomic, metabolic, transcriptomic, proteomic and microbial changes. All this was the first for NASA, which has never conducted a modern biological analysis of the astronaut, not to mention the astronaut and monozygotic control.

The idea of ​​the study has a simple logic: because the twins share the same genome, comparing the changes that occurred while staying in space, and the other on Earth, would give a new idea of ​​the impact of a long-range space flight on a healthy person.

Results that were published in Today we are expanding our understanding of what happens to the human body after a year in space. "NASA Twin Studies: Multivariate Analysis of Long-Range Space Flight" is the triumph of interdisciplinary science. One of the experts described the article as "heraldic desire", it employs 10 different groups at universities across the country and 82 individual authors.

Francine Garnett-Bachelmen, chief author of the article and molecular biologist at the University of Virginia State, said that it is "the most complete result on the basis of available data." But to the essential question, "Are people suitable for space?" the study gives only disappointing and incomplete answers. Long-term impact of space flights is dangerous; On the basis of what we know now, a trip to Mars is too risky to think.

More than 500 people flew into space, and some of the bodily changes that they experienced during missions lasted less than a month or well understood for half a year. Liquids pass to the heads of astronauts; the left side of their hearts is increasing. If they do not exercise vigorously, they lose their monster and dice.

But only four people live in space for a year or more, and the physiological effects of long-range space flight are unknown. The human mission to Mars can last for three years, and in the laconic tones of the study of twins, "the genetic, immune system and metabolic functions are of particular concern due to the influence of cosmic rays, limited rations … violations of circadian rhythms, and

The US government has invited Americans to return to the Moon by 2024 The next Mars during the "low-power launch window" in 2033, when the eccentric orbit of the Red Planet brings it closer to Earth. If we hope to embark on what NASA calls "research class missions", we need to know more

. Scott Kelly himself proposed this idea. "I was informed about the media event when crew members were declared" for ISS missions 43-36. "They wanted Misha," said Mykhailo Kornienko, cosmonaut Scott, "and I know a scientific program so we can answer the question." At this meeting, I said, "She, if someone asks for a question about my brother Mark, you guys, Are you going to do genetic research on us? "And they said no. But after a couple of weeks I met the same guys and they turned to some university researchers who thought that there was some value in this idea.

Scott and Mark Kelly were born in Orange, New Jersey. In 1954, they were the only twin astronauts in NASA's history. No one, observing their children, could label them as future astronauts, except perhaps a pediatric psychologist who specializes in finding siblings seeking an incentive. Endurance Scott's autobiography, he talks about the "crazy risks" that he and Mark took for the boys (they bought "bad boats", did not have navigation equipment or worked radio, and drove them behind the horizon of the coast of Jersey in any weather) and their inevitable consequences in the broken bones

Their parents were seriously ill policemen, father of violent alcoholics. Scott writes: "Sometimes I think that if my father was not a policeman, he would be a criminal." And it's easy to think of two similar brothers: if their parents were not policemen they could have.

Both were bad at school, and Scott fought more than Mark. Both were quickly tired. But both have conceived the unlikely desire to become cosmonauts, Scott, because he fell in love with the vivid prose of Tom Wolf. "I wanted to be a naval aviator. I was still a baseless, inexperienced 18-year-old with terrible assessments who did not know anything about the planes. But The Right Thing gave me a plan for life. "

They found a backyard in naval aviation through the ROTC at the Maritime Trade Academy (Mark) and the State University of New York Maritime College. (Scott). In college, they found that they are very intelligent engineers – the ideal estimates in the calculations became easy now, when they had a goal – and in the fleet they drove aircraft to carriers and became test pilots. Mark fled during the war in the Gulf War.

Both of them were chosen as astronauts in the 1996 class. During his NASA mission, Mark was a pilot or commander of four space shuttle missions; Scott piloted and commanded two shuttles and spent six months at the ISS until his year in space. After Mark's wife, Arizona's representative Gabbi Gifford, was shot in 2011, he flew to his last mission and left the space agency. Scott is invariably generous about what the brother of the twin investigators demanded: "You have to give him a lot. He did not receive any fame about being a man in space. He did it completely for the sake of science. "

But the physical requirements of the study were not glorious for Scott. "There were times, or perhaps once a week, where I had a whole day of sampling. You wake up in the morning and collect blood, centrifuge and place in a freezer. Then you make the first urine, and collect urine during the day: a 24-hour collection of irritating urine, because you can not use a toilet designed for space. It's dirty. And once you fit into this bag, you must remove the test tubes from the urine bag, and then you will need to barcode them, scan them, and put them in the freezer. Even the laboratory freezer is a little complicated. Each time you open the door, you can not leave it open for too long: it's -80 ° Celsius, and you can get a little cold. That same day you could make skin samples, feces. "

For the ISS research subject, it was not similar to any terrestrial laboratory or clinic. In conversation and in his book, Scott Kelly skillfully reminds of a touch assault on his home in space. The International Space Station is deafeningly noisy: fans are losing and buzzing electronics. It also smells badly: from plastics gases, rubbish and body odor. (19459019) Cosmos itself smells, Scott tells us – or rather, vacant space, has a unique odor: "a strong burnt metallic smell like the smell of the Bengal lights of the fourth of July, [or] smell Welding. ")

Weightlessness became a particular problem for the human research program, especially for the astronaut who was often tired, cold and crab from excessive CO breathing 2 . The devices for collection and specimen could never be stuffed. , but had to be attached to the walls; the expert the scenes were supposed to advance into predetermined sequences

After the samples were collected aboard the ISS and on Earth, the work was barely starting. Scott's specimens were supposed to be returned to the Earth aboard the capsule of the Union (Mark used the US Post Office), and the blood The twins were divided into plasma and different cells, including cells that control the immune system. All samples had to be analyzed, and the data was split and analyzed among 10 working groups. Not surprisingly, the whole project lasted more than four years

What was learned? Chris Mason, chief researcher of the gene expression group and professor of physiology and biophysics at Weill Cornell Medicine, described the effect of space travel on Scott genes as "not just a Bengal fire" – it was like a fireworks display in the sky. More than 10,000 genes have been activated by space flight. "To give you some context," Mason explains, "there are about 58,000 known genes in the human genome, so we have seen the body's ability to respond to activation."

This makes sense, given punitive stress. lift, one-year mission, and repeat in & # 39; ride. Despite this, twin research groups were shocked by the large changes that occur everywhere in Scott's body, including the length of his telomeres, caps at the end of the chromosomes that protect the integrity of DNA; regulation of genes, measured as interaction with the environment, and orchestration of the gene activity; microbial or bacteria in its intestines; the dimensions of his carotid artery;

Scott's immune system was generally turbulent throughout the year in space: many of its immune-mediated cellular pathways have been affected, including the adaptive immune system, the innate immune response, and natural killer cells, protect the body from cancer, like leukemia and viruses. (The result is confirmed by the shocking study published in January, which compared the immune system of eight astronauts who completed flights to space for more than six months with healthy adults on Earth.Scott's cognitive function was also beaten: he dropped to the ISS.

Human The body was wonderfully adaptive, and almost all of these changes were transient: Scott returned to normal for six months upon returning to Earth, becoming his old "I", with the exception of the usual age-related losses, but some cosmic flight effects left their mark. The otter got stubborn on the ISS, but he also stayed duller.The reduction in the speed and precision of his mental functions lasted six months after his mission.

The most striking was Telomeres Scott. While he was on the ISS, his telomeres were strange extended probably because he was practicing and how little he ate. But within 48 hours after returning to Earth, his telomeres rapidly shrink in response to the strain of landing. Despite the fact that most Scott telomeres subsequently went to baseline levels, six months after his mission, he had considerably less total telomeres and increased the number of critically short telomeres. This conclusion was alarming: loss of telomeres could increase the risk of astronauts from developing cancer and other diseases of the elderly.

NASA's twin study authors help distinguish between potentially low risk, medium or unknown risk, and high. Impact on the danger of the annual space flight: the loss of Telomer Scott was an "unknown risk". An example of a "very dynamic association with a potentially low risk" was the change in the microbial Scott. Several well-known high-risk changes have been confirmed by studies, including those with space-operated neuro-occlusive syndrome. However, some new risks were rediscovered and long-range space travel required their solution

Completely 91.3% of the Scott genes, whose expression changed during space flight, returned to normal ranges for six months. But a separate subgroup of genes has never done: 811 genes in different types of cells, almost all of them are related to the immune function and DNA repair. This is a bad news for the future man in space, because it is the genes that must protect cosmonauts from cosmic radiation.

Magnetic fields of the Earth and the atmosphere protect us from most of the ionizing radiation that passes through the space. Typical earthworms annually absorbs about three squirts. During a week on a spacecraft the cosmonaut could get 5.59 mSv. The crew of Apollo 14 was subjected to an impact of 11.4 mSv. Scott Kelly received 146.34 mSv during his year in space. When he closed his eyes to fall asleep in his tight rooms at night, Scott saw that "cosmic outbreaks … illuminating his field of vision," the result of radiation that affects his retina.

Much of the genomic instability and regrouping, recorded by the Twin Study, is probably the result of cosmic radiation. In a particularly alarming detail, the number of differentially expressed genes in six months of Scott's mission was six times higher [19590101]. or continue scaling Scott lived for another six months or longer on the ISS. "We know that this is not the direction we want," says Mason. "We see a flurry of activated gene networks to respond to DNA damage and body adaptation, but this may not be enough to respond to radiation damage." and make them faulty, or break threads into DNA and knock out a pair of bases. Dead or poorly functioning cells cause heart disease or cognitive decline; if the cells can not recover the damage to the DNA, mutations accumulate, causing cancer and hereditary diseases.

The ISS is only 250 miles above Earth, yet under the umbrella of Van Allen's glue. During the mission in Mars, the astronaut could absorb up to 1200 mSv. "The overall risk of cancer for astronauts is still relatively low, but almost every one came to Earth," Mason says. "We do not yet know, but I would say that radiation is a big issue."

A NASA twin study has obvious limitations. Her n = 1: "One space test space for this particular set of events, it is impossible to attribute causation to a space flight compared to a casual event." Real control would be to compare the twins of NASA with the second set, where one brother lived in the American suburbs, and the other – in a loud voice, frightening Iraq at the end of the year.

Bill Palosky, director of NASA's research program on humans and the ultimate parent of the study, understands this line of criticism. "We would like to continue our experiments with our crews. But I turned away from the impression as adaptive people. We did not find any stops, "he says.

Paloschi believes that the study should be regarded as a hypothesis generator. Кріс Мейсон, який вперше запропонував моніторинг геномів і епігеномів астронавтів до, під час і після космічного польоту в 2010 році, задоволений. Його група має ще сім документів, що розглядаються, включаючи статті про соматичні мутації та динаміку однієї клітини. Є п'ять або шість нових робіт від інших груп

Мейсон має ще більші амбіції. Він запропонував «500-річний план» для космічної колонізації, найрадикальніша пропозиція якого полягає в додаванні, видаленні або модифікації генів для створення постійних, спадкових змін у нових видах космічних гомінінів. «Дослідження близнюків – це найповніша молекулярна карта людського тіла, коли-небудь зроблена з космічних польотів. Це перший великий крок на 500-річній сходовій клітці, що представляє біомедичну дорожню карту реакції та ризиків для довготривалих космічних польотів, які допоможуть космонавтам пережити цю подорож до Марса і процвітати на ньому.

«Іти до Марса – не про ракетну науку. Це стосується політичної науки ». Це, безумовно, вірно: місія NASA Марс буде політичним рішенням, з політичними витратами та вигодами, які будуть схвалені лише за умови широкої політичної підтримки. Для порівняння, проблеми побудови достатньо міцного космічного апарату, вибір його оптимальної траєкторії і забезпечення його екіпажем здаються досить простими. Але йти на Марс також буде проблемою внаслідок життєвих наук.

Сьогодні ми просто не знаємо, які роки впливу на радіацію, з якою зустрінуться астронавти за межами магнітосфери Землі, зробили б для людського тіла. Ніякі втручання не можуть запобігти або вилікувати хвороби, які можуть призвести до цього. Наступним є те, що NASA Human Research зможе працювати з такими ж вченими-академіками, які провели дослідження близнят, щоб доповнити його даними з майбутніми дослідженнями більшої кількості космонавтів.

Але для Марка і Скотта їхній науковий внесок у проблеми довготривалого життя Тривалість польоту людини в космічний простір. Скотт Келлі пішов у відставку з НАСА і вийшов заміж за свого довгого партнера. Марк балотується на сенат США.

На питання, чи він відчуває будь-який інший, Скотт каже: "Щось я відчуваю безпосередньо від польоту, я не можу так багато сказати. Я змінив своє бачення. У мене випромінювання, яке вплинуло на мою ДНК. Я цього не відчуваю, але знаю, що це є. Я не дуже переживаю за це. Я, звичайно, відчую речі через 20 років, без сумніву. ”

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