Life in Space is a Giant Science Experiment

By Maddie Stone on at

Space isn’t a very human-friendly environment, to put things mildly. That’s why, as NASA has grown fond of saying, we’re sciencin’ the shit out of our astronauts so that we can learn how to keep them alive.

This week marks the mid-point of astronaut Scott Kelly’s “Year in Space” mission, a 52-week research program in which Kelly, along with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko is being scrutinised by a swarm of medical researchers who want to understand everything from how human circadian rhythms to metabolic activity to neurologic functions are impacted by space.

To mark the occasion, NASA released an infographic offering some fun facts about what it means to be a human in space for a year. For instance, did you know that during his cosmic sojourn, Kelly will produce “180 pounds [81 kilos] of faeces that will burn up in the atmosphere like shooting stars”? That’s cool! Or that the man is getting dosed with the radiation equivalent of over 5,000 transcontinental flights? Less cool! (But still important for us to understand).

Of course, these juicy tidbits are just the tip of the iceberg — we’ve got a lot of science to learn from Kelly as the year progresses, so stay tuned. [NASA]