Astronauts are Coming Back with Thinner Skin
They can still take a joke, though.
Natalie has been writing professionally for about 6 years. After graduating from Ithaca College with a degree in Feature Writing, she snagged a job at PCMag.com where she had the opportunity to review all the latest consumer gadgets. Since then she has become a writer for hire, freelancing for various websites. In her spare time, you may find her riding her motorcycle, reading YA novels, hiking, or playing video games. Follow her on Twitter: @nat_schumaker
Space travel wreaks havoc on the human frame. After returning to Earth, astronauts have to undergo extensive treatment to recondition their bodies for the gravity that they'd gone without for all that time in space. Things like muscle atrophy and reduced bone density are among the list of conditions often seen, but researchers have recently discovered that astronauts have been coming back with thinner skin.
A group of researchers has been tasked with figuring out why. Leading the study is professor Karsten Koenig from the Department of Biophotonics and Laser Technology at Saarland University. Koenig and team were given skin cells from several astronauts before takeoff and after they landed to find the cause behind their thinning skin, but can only offer observations.
Koenig said in an interview with Reuters:
"So far we've got interesting results from three astronauts. It seems that there is a strong production of collagen; so suddenly these astronauts have more collagen. It means there is some sort of anti-ageing effect, at least in the dermis — the lower part of the skin. And we found that the epidermis, in particular the part of the living cells, that this epidermis is shrinking, so the skin gets thinner."
The explanation of what's causing the epidermis to thin so much — as much as 20 percent after six months — still eludes researchers. What kind of protection is needed and how they can outfit a spacecraft with it are all questions that need answering if a long trip to Mars is ever to be in our future.
Add this issue to the growing list of challenges that face a Mars mission. The cancerous dust on the red planet and fueling issues seem like such a faraway concerns when pitted against ones concerning the health and wellness of the astronauts. Still, NASA and Elon Musk believe there's hope to get there in 10 to 20 years.
Bill Nye weighs-in on the pros and cons of NASA and SpaceX.
Read more at Reuters.
Photo Credit: IVAN SEKRETAREV / Getty Staff
How a cataclysm worse than what killed the dinosaurs destroyed 90 percent of all life on Earth.
While the demise of the dinosaurs gets more attention as far as mass extinctions go, an even more disastrous event called "the Great Dying” or the “End-Permian Extinction” happened on Earth prior to that. Now scientists discovered how this cataclysm, which took place about 250 million years ago, managed to kill off more than 90 percent of all life on the planet.
A new study discovers the “liking gap” — the difference between how we view others we’re meeting for the first time, and the way we think they’re seeing us.
We tend to be defensive socially. When we meet new people, we’re often concerned with how we’re coming off. Our anxiety causes us to be so concerned with the impression we’re creating that we fail to notice that the same is true of the other person as well. A new study led by Erica J. Boothby, published on September 5 in Psychological Science, reveals how people tend to like us more in first encounters than we’d ever suspect.
Using advanced laser technology, scientists at NASA will track global changes in ice with greater accuracy.
Leaving from Vandenberg Air Force base in California this coming Saturday, at 8:46 a.m. ET, the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2 — or, the "ICESat-2" — is perched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, and when it assumes its orbit, it will study ice layers at Earth's poles, using its only payload, the Advance Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS).
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.