After a year in space, Scott Kelly returns 2 inches taller

Daily News Article - March 7, 2016

Questions

NOTE: The astronaut is Scott Kelly; the scientist for the NASA and NSBRI Twin Study is Graham Scott.

1. How will conducting a twin study help scientists gauge the effects of space travel on the human body?

2. For what reason are scientists conducting this study? (What is the ultimate goal?)

3. How does prolonged time spent in space affect:
a) Vision?
b) Bones and muscle? Be specific.
c) How have researchers been able to partially prevent the effects of long-term space travel on bones and muscle?

4. a) Why will radiation be the biggest issue astronauts face when they travel to Mars?
b) What effects of radiation will researchers examine when they conduct the years-long medical study on astronaut Scott Kelly? (Graham Scott notes that Kelly’s medical study with NASA will continue long after this year, with yearly physical checkups.)

5. Why does the heart shrink in space?

6. Why does a prolonged lack of gravity affect a person’s height?

7. a) What problems do astronauts experience when they first return to earth?
b) How long does it take to function normally again?

8. NASA/NSBRI scientist Graham Scott notes that astronaut Scott Kelly’s medical study with NASA will continue long after this year, with yearly physical checkups. Watch the interview with Scott Kelly under “Resources.” Read the diagram in the article. Would you be willing to take the same risks he and other astronauts have? Explain your answer.

OPTIONAL: Ask a grandparent why he/she thinks Americans don’t share the same widespread enthusiasm for space travel as they did when our astronauts first landed on the moon.