JUL 06, 2015 05:54 AM PDT

3 Down, 9 To Go

So, how's it going up there? Scott Kelly, NASA astronaut, identical twin and current International Space Station resident is three months into his year long stay at the ISS and took time to check in with a curious public. In an interview with CBS News, he talked about some of the challenges he's facing and the experiments that are being conducted.
A healthy snack floats toward astronaut Scott Kelly aboard the International Space Station
The medical research that is being done on board the ISS is significant because of the length of the mission and also because researchers have a rare opportunity to study identical twins. For the first time, the body changes, blood tests and other evaluations have a control factor: Scott Kelly's twin brother Mark, who is on Earth and going through all of the same evaluations.

Researchers are looking closely at several kinds of medical factors. Genetics of course, since they have two sets of the same DNA to work with. Specifically, tests are being conducted to measure telomeres, which are found at the end of chromosomes and tend to shrink as we age.

Gut bacteria is also a concern. In the normal human digestive tract there are trillions of bacteria, some good, some not so good. NASA will be looking at both brothers to see if the time spent in space changed any of the microscopic make up of the gut.

Eyeballs and arteries will be closely studied as well. Zero gravity can affect both of these body systems. Previous ISS astronauts have had had permanent changes in the shape and function of their eyeballs and this could be a major issue for future missions. Kelly, in his interview with CBS News, stated, "You wouldn't want some astronauts to get on Mars after a year and a half, or longer when they're coming home, and not be able to see. It's something we don't understand, but it's something we're working hard at understanding and mitigating the effects. We've done a lot of research up here since I've been here to better understand that."

Aside from the science and medical parts of the mission, Kelly was asked about the general day-to-day life on board. What does is sound like? Does it smell bad? He had no complaints about the noise or the smell, telling CBS anchor Scott Pelley, "It doesn't smell too bad." The smell of outer space however, was something else Kelly explained, saying "whenever a vehicle docks or if guys are out doing a spacewalk, the smell of space when you open up the hatch is very distinct. It's kind of like a burning-metal smell, if you can imagine what that would smell like. And as far as the sounds on the space station, it's pumps, fans, motors, certain modules are louder than others, but it's generally a pretty nice working environment. It's not too loud or too smelly."

When Kelly was asked if being onboard was similar to being in prison he made some comparisons, but concluded by telling CBS News, "The big difference, though, is we're here by choice. So that makes, I guess, the situation a little bit better."

Check out the video below to see the entire interview


Sources: Dallas News, CBS, NASA
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
JUN 12, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUN 12, 2018
NASA's Opportunity Rover Halts Scientific Operations Amid Martian Dust Storm
There’s a massive dust storm enveloping certain parts of Mars right now, and it just so happens that NASA’s Opportunity rover is stuck right in...
JUN 27, 2018
Videos
JUN 27, 2018
Will We Ever Achieve Light Speed?
Will humankind ever achieve light speed with a spacecraft? Science fiction movies keep our hopes high, but the reality of things is that it may not be poss...
JUL 16, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUL 16, 2018
A New Solar Sail Technology for Future Spacecraft?
As astronomers look to progress humankind’s understanding of outer space and the innumerable mysteries within, advancements in technology must follow...
AUG 05, 2018
Space & Astronomy
AUG 05, 2018
These 9 Astronauts Will Participate in NASA's First Commercial Crewed Missions
NASA astronauts haven’t launched from American soil since the Space Shuttle program’s retirement in 2011. Instead, they’ve been riding sh...
AUG 08, 2018
Space & Astronomy
AUG 08, 2018
Here's Why NASA is Sending a Probe to the Sun
An upcoming NASA probe will fly closer to the Sun than any before it. Known as the Parker Solar Probe, this spacecraft will study the Sun and many of its q...
SEP 11, 2018
Space & Astronomy
SEP 11, 2018
Lunar Rock Samples Collected by the Apollo Astronauts May Not Tell the Moon's Entire Story
While some researchers study our planet to learn more about its history and formation, other researchers focus their efforts on alternative bodies in the s...
Loading Comments...