Veteran Astronauts To Test Effects Of Weightlessness On Human Mind And Body By Spending A Year At The ISS

By Meera Dolasia on December 7, 2012

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Though many astronauts have spent more than 365 days in Space, it has not been in one long stretch, but instead broken up through several missions. That is because scientists are not sure of the long-term effects of weightlessness on both the human body and mind, and therefore restrict stays to a maximum of six months.

However, if we are ever to make a trip to Mars or even an asteroid, then researchers need to ensure that the astronauts can withstand each other for such long periods of time in really tiny quarters and more importantly, if their bodies and minds can handle the harsh long journeys.

The first issue was tested out in June 2010. Called Mars 500, the mock mission entailed sequestering six astronauts in a sealed 1,000sq.ft. capsule for a full 520 days. During that time, they did everything the astronauts going to the Red Planet will be required to do, except for one thing . . . . . .  Leaving earth!

Now researchers are planning the next phase of the tests by actually sending two astronauts to Space for an unprecedented amount of time - This time to study the negative effects, if any, that micro-gravity may have on the human body and mind. Since the only place we are currently situated in Space happens to be the International Space Station (ISS) that, is where they will be spending an entire year!

The two scientists selected for this rather risky experiment, US astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian Cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, are both experienced space explorers who have been to the ISS on multiple missions.

48-Year old retired US Navy captain Scott Kelly, has spent a total of six months at the Station made his first trip in mission STS-103 in 1999. He subsequently made two more trips, one as a commander of the space shuttle flight. His companion to be, 52-year old Kornienko first visited the ISS in 2010 and has to date logged a total of 176 days at the Station.

However, before the duo begin their ground-breaking endeavor in March 2015, they will spend two years training for it, on earth. Once at the ISS, their health, mental well-being and performance will be closely monitored for the entire year. The results will help the scientists ascertain the best way to keep the pioneering astronauts that will make the trip to outer space, healthy and happy!

Surprisingly though, while the year in space will place Kelly and Kornienko ahead of most other space explorers they will not be able to edge out the record set by Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov, who left aboard the Soyuz rocket in January 1994 and spent a total of 438 days at the Russian Space Station Mir.  During the time he performed scientific research, conducted several experiments and orbited the earth 7,000 times!

His reason for spending so much time in one continuous stretch? The same as the one the two astronauts are being sent for! Turns out, he did quite well, even managing to walk the few steps between him and and his capsule that brought him back to earth on March 22nd 1975, following his extended stay in weightless conditions. The best part is that scientists found no long lasting impairment and Mr. Polyakov is still around at the ripe old age of 70! Hopefully, Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko's extended stay at ISS will have a similar outcome.

Guardian.co.uk, wikipedia.org

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93 Comments
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  • Cool stuffFriday, March 27, 2015 at 11:48 am
    I know same here
    • 5emcdaniel
      5emcdanielFriday, March 27, 2015 at 10:38 am
      How is it in space. And how do you guys stay up there that long. The average is 6 months not 365 or more
      • 4mbarnes
        4mbarnesFriday, March 27, 2015 at 10:33 am
        I thought that this was cool and amazing.I have learned that the long time to travel was 438 days.I want to know long do they go without seeing their family.
        • pandalover586
          pandalover586Friday, March 27, 2015 at 10:56 am
          I now right
        • 5malbers
          5malbersFriday, March 27, 2015 at 10:31 am
          I thought that this was a marvelous experiment. I learned that the usuall time they stay is not really long. Also why I'd they do this when somebody already has
          • wl6
            wl6Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at 11:39 am
            this story is so cool
            • fivestarkeke
              fivestarkekeTuesday, February 3, 2015 at 11:03 am
              omg
              • juli12
                juli12Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at 9:10 am
                THAT IS SO COOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                • playerpro678
                  playerpro678Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at 8:59 am
                  They should show this on TV!!!!!!
                  • juli12
                    juli12Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at 8:51 am
                    WOW
                    • juli12
                      juli12Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at 8:48 am
                      OMG that is so cool I wish I were them

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