NASA Sent One Astronaut To Space While His Twin Stays On Earth, To Predict Effects Of a Mars Trip On Human Body

US space agency NASA sent one of a pair of twins to spend a year in space to study the potential effects and stresses a trip to Mars could do to the human body.

Astronaut Scott Kelly travelled to the International Space Station In March 2015, while his twin brother and a retired astronaut, Mark Kelly, remained on Earth. NASA
researchers have now revealed some information on the differences in the genes’ activities as a result of the trip.

According to data revealed, there was an obvious difference in Mark and Scott Kelly’s gene expression signatures, which is the process through which information from a gene is used in the synthesis of gene products such as producing insulin. However, a change in environment can change the number and rate of products produced. And the year-long stay in space showed that there was a substantial change in Astronaut Scott’s gene expression.

Other information revealed showed that DNA Methylation – process where methyl groups are added to a DNA molecule –decreased in Scott while it increased in Mark.
Andrew Feinberg, a John Hopkins geneticist, said, “The greatest importance of the study is to show that we can do it. I don’t think people realised it would be so easy to do genomics on astronauts in space.”
NASA revealed the first set of results on January 26 and more information will come in the months to follow.

Head of NASA’s human research program said, “We’re working with a small number of highly identifiable people here.”