Scott Kelly’s year in space highlights risks to DNA and brains

After years of processing data, the official release of a study comparing twin astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly is finally here. One clear trend emerged in the findings, which were published today in the journal Science: a year in space changed Scott Kelly’s body, but many of those changes were only temporary and vanished after time back on the ground.

The exceptions — like damage to Scott’s DNA and drops in his mental performance — give NASA a starting point for research into the effects of extended spaceflight on the human body. With his 340 days aboard the International Space Station, Scott has had the longest stay in space of any American. As Scott has said, space is hard on the body: radiation, weightlessness, the restrictive diet,…

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