NASA’s Image of Scott Kelly Floating Aboard the ISS.
NASA’s Image of Scott Kelly Floating Aboard the ISS.

Cosmic Queries – Humans in Space

Scott Kelly Aboard the ISS. Image Credit: NASA.
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About This Episode

On this episode of StarTalk Radio, Neil deGrasse Tyson and comic co-host Matt Kirshen are answering your fan-submitted Cosmic Queries alongside Chris Mason, PhD. Chris is a computational biologist and geneticist who was a principal investigator in NASA’s Twin Study, which involved sending astronaut Scott Kelly into space for one year while his twin brother, Mark Kelly, stayed on the ground. Chris provides insight into that study as well as how human biology adapts, reacts, and could transform in space. 

Chris tells us about some of the surprises from the study. We discuss the impact of long-term zero-g exposure on the human body. You’ll find out whether zero-g makes it harder to digest food or use the bathroom. Chris enlightens us about how astronauts use a bathroom aboard the International Space Station. 

We explore genetically-modifying humans to be better prepared for long-term space travel. Neil tells us a bit of history about why our quests for biological modification usually end in engineering solutions. You’ll hear if spending significant time in space alters your genetic make-up. We also ponder humans who will live their whole lives away from Earth, and how that might impact their neurological and physiological states. 

Discover more about protecting humans from cosmic radiation while in space. Could you genetically-modify humans to endure more radiation? Would the unorthodox methods used on Avenue 5 work in real life? What would happen if you were to stay on the ISS forever? Lastly, we investigate how the middle ear adapts to being in space and the impact of gravity on the eyes. All that, plus, we explore the effects of isolation and why it’s not something to be ignored. 

Thanks to our Patrons Michael Gessner, Riyam Samarrai, Doug Sherman, John Gallagher, Keith Howell, Gustavo Maia, Jonathan Gaffers, and Kyle Thomas for supporting us this week.

NOTE: StarTalk+ Patrons and All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free.

About the prints that flank Neil in this video:

“Black Swan” & “White Swan” limited edition serigraph prints by Coast Salish artist Jane Kwatleematt Marston. For more information about this artist and her work, visit Inuit Gallery of Vancouver,

In This Episode

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