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article imageA rare twin study conducted by NASA

By Amanda Byas     Aug 13, 2013 in Science
NASA has a once in a lifetime opportunity on their agenda. Astronaut Scott Kelly is scheduled to spend a year at the International Space Station in March 2015, while his twin brother Mark Kelly will live his normal life in Arizona.
Mark was the one who commanded the final mission of the space shuttle Endeavor in 2011. Gabrielle Giffords, Mark’s wife, was severely injured in a shooting in Tucson, Arizona, in January 2011. Mark then retired from NASA later that year to be with his wife during her extensive recovery and to spend more quality time with his family.
Scott will be busy setting a world record for the longest space mission by any NASA astronaut, but there will still be time to oversee some investigations into how the twins’ bodies react to their different environments.
As of right now, NASA is soliciting ideas for a variety of ways to test the twins with a call for proposal titled “Differential Effects on Homozygous Twin Astronauts Associated with Differences in Exposure to Spaceflight Factors."
The plan includes collecting blood samples; however, any other tests must not interfere with Scott’s duties while on the ISS.
The NASA release says:
"Proposed investigations should focus on the analysis of human molecular responses to the physical, physiological, and environmental stressors associated with human spaceflight."
This study is supposed to help NASA gain a much better understanding of how space flight affects the body, and work toward finding ways to reduce risks to humans while in space.
The proposals for this study are due by September 17, so there is still time for researchers to get in on this study.
More about NASA, twin study, Mark Kelly, Scott Kelly, Endeavor
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