NASA to Experiment on Twins by Sending One Into Space

NASA to Experiment on Twins by Sending One Into Space

NASA will be sending an identical twin into space in order to better study the effects of an extended space flight on a human being.

In 1905, Albert Einstein presented the twin paradox as part of his work on special relativity: if an identical twin travels to space in a high-speed rocket, he'll return to find that his brother - who remained on Earth - will have aged more. In a new study, NASA is looking to test just what changes an astronaut undergoes during an extended space journey - by sending an identical twin into space.

Scott Kelly's one year mission to the International Space Station is set to kick off in March 2015. His identical twin brother, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, will remain on Earth as the control. Once these genetically identical individuals will be reunited, tests will determine just how identical they still are.

Samples and measurements from the brothers will be taken before, during, and after the space flight, and they will be compared with respect to genetics, biochemistry, vision, cognition, and much more. Tests will seek to determine how the human immune system is affected in space, whether space radiation is prematurely aging astronauts, and why eyeglasses sometimes don't work in space. These investigations are the first of their kind, and NASA is breaking new ground in studying how genetically identical twins may be changed by space flight.

Source: NASA

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wouldn't the earthbound brother be a better control had he never been to space? if the spacebound brother has never been, it would make better sense to keep him on earth. but i'm no scientist, especially not a NASA scientist, so I who am I to say...

I'm pretty sure there is SO much more going on to separate these twin's biological info... than just space travel.

You have to get really high speeds to even notice it.

I guess that's an interesting case study that might be useful until we're able to send large numbers of people up and get a better statistical analysis of what happens to people in space.

For some reason though, the fact that we have to use such limited, almost pathetic methods to study this sort of thing makes me feel like I'm never going to see a lunar colony in my lifetime...

That literally doesn't make sense. They see the effects of this on a single person when they give them their before launch physical and post landing physical. What is this going to show that the others do not, exactly? Yeah, nothing. Waste of time and resources.

It sounds to me like the mention of relativity is a red herring. It's far more likely that they're doing this to study the effects of microgravity and radiation on people.

Relativity has nothing to do with it, the effects will be negligible.

Was I the only one who thought: "what weird 'merica! mother would give them her newborn children for an experiment"?
:DDDDDDDDDDDD
This on the other hand makes little sense.

martyrdrebel27:
wouldn't the earthbound brother be a better control had he never been to space? if the spacebound brother has never been, it would make better sense to keep him on earth. but i'm no scientist, especially not a NASA scientist, so I who am I to say...

That would be the case if the non-retired one were not also a 'previously been to space himself' astronaut as well. This isn't a case of Nasa just picking a random person who happens to be a twin and sending him to space, but rather NASA proceeding business as usual while giving a grant to some scientist to study their astronauts, whom happen to be twins.

See http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/kellysj.html & http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/kellyme.html

They are talking about two effects (I think).

1) how mass affects (no pun intended) time. Large (and dense) bodies of mass slow down time. An extreme example is a black hole. This is an actual problem for GPS satellites. Global positioning requires accurate time measurements. But since the satellites are so far from earth, time speeds up for them. They have to correct for this effect daily.

2) time slows down for matter that is moving. The faster you go the slower time gets. Again: satellites.

Here is a link that gives an explanation on this stuff: http://www.astronomy.ohio-state.edu/~pogge/Ast162/Unit5/gps.html

Still, on human development these effects will be negligible. Since identical twins are not identical. It would be more interesting to perform this experiment on children who are in their growth spurt. Since mechanical stress has a large impact on bone formation. Not... the most ethical of experiments though.

At first, I imagined this to be some sort of Nazi experiment, where they'd torture one twin and see if the other could feel it from space. Nice to know that's not what's actually happening.

Daaaah Whoosh:
At first, I imagined this to be some sort of Nazi experiment, where they'd torture one twin and see if the other could feel it from space. Nice to know that's not what's actually happening.

Lol, I feel bad that I thought the same thing. The first thought that popped into my mind was, "Hmm..the last time we had expirimentations on twins (FOR SCIENCE!) it turned out rather terribly.

Heinlein called and he wants book back http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_for_the_Stars
Seriously did someone just finish reading this at NASA?
They are really looking into FLT!!!!

 

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