UPDATE: It's time for us to sign off. Thanks for all the great questions! Tune into a briefing to learn more about one-year mission science at 1 p.m. EST and a briefing with Astronaut Scott Kelly about his year on the space station at 2 p.m. EST on NASA TV at www.ustream.tv/NASAHDTV. You can ask additional questions on Twitter using #askNASA! We will take a few during the briefing and answer more on Twitter. You can follow mission operations at @Space_Station, and station science news at @ISS_Research.

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko have just returned from a year-long mission to the International Space Station. Research conducted during this mission will help prepare us for future voyages beyond low-Earth orbit. We are scientists and medical doctors from NASA’s Johnson Space Center, and can cover everything from how microgravity affects the human body to how astronauts’ food intake is closely monitored while on-orbit. Ask us anything about the science behind the One Year Mission.

*Julie Robinson, Ph.D., NASA’s Chief Scientist for the International Space Station

*John Charles, Ph.D., Associate Manager for International Science for NASA’s Human Research Program

*Scott M. Smith, Ph.D., Nutritional Biochemistry Laboratory Manager for NASA’s Human Research Program

*Dr. Shannan Moynihan, NASA Flight Surgeon

*Bruce Nieschwitz, Astronaut Strength and Reconditioning Coach

Proof: http://nasa.tumblr.com/post/139928387864/yearinspace-reddit-ama

Comments: 923 • Responses: 84  • Date: 

Imanagedmischief281 karma

Is it true that part of this year-long mission for Scott Kelly has been to provide data for future Mars missions? If so, what kind of beneficial data are you hoping to get from his stay in Space, and what is its significance to future Mars missions? Also, thank you for everything you have done and continue to do for, and to promote, mankind's exploration of horizons beyond our own!

JSCNASA298 karma

Mars missions will last much longer than ISS rotations of 6 months--possibly up to 2.5 years. ISS allows us to understand how the human body adapts to weightlessness, isolation, space food, etc. Everything we measure will be directly relevant. jbc

MikeCian261 karma

When will Scott Kelly lose the extra inches of height that he gained from being in space? Or is that a permanent physical change?

JSCNASA362 karma

As soon as Scott returned to gravity and stood up, gravity began to compress his spine again. Most likely, he is already back to his pre-launch height. sm

JSCNASA239 karma

Recovery is super quick - essentially just by adding gravity back into the mix. The results aren't permanent. SM

ageekmom107 karma

Does this process tend to be painful for the astronauts, and if so is the pain experienced more on orbit as their spines decompress or when they return to 1g/Earth gravity and their spines recompress?

JSCNASA161 karma

Some astronauts do experience back pain when they get to space and upon return. We are learning more with studies such as this: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/856.html

ZippityD49 karma

That's super cool. Have we ever sent an experiment to check on the effect of weightlessness on compression related spinal problems like disc herniation or spinal tumors?

JSCNASA70 karma

Here's a related study on intervertebral disk damage: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/856.html

astrotam214 karma

Welcome home to Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko! I noticed that they had to be carried from the Soyuz capsule. How long did it take them to regain their "Earth legs"? Did their legs "tingle" as they were regaining strength?

JSCNASA275 karma

Its the Russian plan to carry the crew immediately after they land because sometimes they can somewhat off balance. "earth legs" come back pretty quickly - usually within a few days for most. SM

Nothematic204 karma

How much choice do the astronauts get over what food they get to eat up in space? Obviously it all needs to be part of a balanced diet, but is there much leeway in their personal preferences/dislikes?

JSCNASA364 karma

In essence - they can eat whatever they want - from the space food system, which repeats about every 8 days. They also get a set of "preference" containers to augment nominal food supply (amounts to about 10% of their intake). We track what they eat, and make recommendations, but it is a bit like sending your kid to school with a lunch box. :) - sms

Wittekind195 karma

How does microgravity affect plant growth? What are the challenges of growing plants in space?

JSCNASA277 karma

The biggest challenges is helping the roots get the right amount of water. On earth, water settles to the bottom of the container due to gravity and the roots are adapted to draw up the right amount of water by capillary action. In space the water is distributed everywhere in the container and the roots are experiencing a flood. -JR

AST-TANMAY184 karma

What were the main findings from Scott Kelly's year in space mission ?

JSCNASA346 karma

From the perspective of NASA's Human Research program, that mission is not yet over just because the flight has landed. We have weeks, even months, of data collection continuing post-flight. Also, some of the blood samples are still on ISS and wont be back for analysis until May. So far, the main findings are that Scott Kelly looks great, and year-long missions are not the limit, and it was successful largely because of the close coordination between the Russians, the US and all the partners. jbc

JSCNASA132 karma

Over 450 experiments were done on the space station by Scott and his fellow crew. From studies of dark matter, to studies of stem cells, to studies of fluid physics, all the data will come back to Earth and be analyzed leading to new knowledge across the disciplines of science. -JR

drinkmorecoffee66 karma

I didn't realize the ISS was equipped to study dark matter.

What sorts of instruments were used?

What experiments were they able to carry out?

What sort of observations were they able to make?

JSCNASA58 karma

We have the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer http://ams.nasa.gov/ and Calet http://calet.phys.lsu.edu/

nuclearniko170 karma

This doesn't so much have to do with the year in space but has NASA ever done/considered putting a bird in zero gravity? I'm currently working on getting into the field of ornithology and seeing this post put that in my head and I would love to know how they would react to it.

JSCNASA307 karma

The Russians actually hatched and grew at least one small bird on the Mir station. It flew well but quite leisurely. jbc

nuclearniko61 karma

Thank you for answering my silly question, I will have to look into that.

JSCNASA141 karma

It's quite a good question because we can bring eggs at various states of development to see if there is a critical time period when gravity is required for normal development. Results thus far seem to indicate that eggs can develop normally.

-selina-157 karma

Can I ask why the astronauts are usually given a piece of fruit or a cucumber to eat as they begin their initial health checks when they return to earth? Why fruit or cucumber and not that pizza slice they've been dying for? ;)

JSCNASA254 karma

Trust me, the pizza comes soon enough! Its a very popular choice for their first meal while we are traveling back to the US. The green apples at landing are a Russian tradition. We are also out in the desert, so portable tasty items are good. SM

naflz135 karma

It's amazing how much you're studying with the human research project. What's something that's really surprised you during your research?

JSCNASA221 karma

One of the most surprising results was that about 3 years ago we discovered that some (not all) astronauts were having permanent vision loss in space. We hadn't noticed the pattern until we had multiple long-duration missions on the space station! -JR

falcodude98 karma

Have you guys been able to pinpoint what is causing the vision loss? Less strain on the muscles around the eye?

JSCNASA178 karma

We think the shift of fluids to the brain causes the optic nerve to swell and press on the back of the eye, literally causing the globe (eyeball) to flatten! -JR

JSCNASA68 karma

some of us think genetics and nutrition play a role too. See: http://www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-studies-link-genetics-and-nutrition-with-astronaut-vision-changes sms

eirik-ff32 karma

Are there any theories as to why astronauts experience vision loss in space?

JSCNASA62 karma

The major theory is that it is due to fluid shifts. Because of that Scott Kelley and Kornienko both participated in a study that measured the effect of lower body negative pressure on the shift of fluids to his brain. -JR

JSCNASA42 karma

noraa727101 karma

Since most of the physiological problems of long term space travel are caused by being in microgravity has the idea of artificial gravity (or some kind of gravity simulation) ever been considered/ researched?

BTW working at JSC is a dream job, hopefully I'll be around in a few years :)

JSCNASA154 karma

Yes - we've considered AG. Lots of issues...e.g., do you spin the whole vehicle? or put a smaller centrifuge inside the vehicle? do you need to spin 24h/day? or is 1-2 hours enough? what level g do you need? A handful of ground-based bed rest studies have been conducted to assess some of these questions. More are planned. One step at a time. Thanks! sms

vkittykat99 karma

I read about the vegetables grown aboard the ISS - did the environment they grew in affect their nutritional content or taste? How does a microgravity environment affect plant growth?

JSCNASA139 karma

Feedback from the crew was that the taste was great! And growing them up there was a favorite activity. SM

dominitor86 karma

How does the recycled water taste?

JSCNASA144 karma

Here's astronaut Kjell Lindgren answering that question recently: https://twitter.com/ISS_Research/status/667410078488653824

RKO3685 karma

I can't past the fact the year in space was only 0.93 years and not 1 year. Why?

JSCNASA126 karma

It is determined by Soyuz launch schedules. 11 months in space is close to 12 months and much longer than the usual 6 month rotations on ISS. So calling it the one-year mission (abbreviated 1YM) is just a convenience. (Close enough, right?)

knice11180 karma

How much radiation does an astronaut absorb being out in space as long as Scott Kelly was? How does that compare to what might be absorbed during a mission to Mars? What sort of measures (clothes?) is NASA developing to protect astronauts from that radiation on long-term missions? Thank you so much for doing what you do!

JSCNASA100 karma

The dose rate on ISS in low earth orbit is about the same as on the surface of Mars: about 40 times the dose rate on Earth's surface. The dose rate is much higher beyond Earth's magnetic field and in transit between the planets. Radiation is a significant factor in astronauts' mission assignments, and more so for longer missions. Research is on-going in ways to provide shielding (only for solar particles, not so good against galactic cosmic radiation), pharamceutical treatments and dietary supplements. jbc

AST-TANMAY76 karma

What kind of music would be suitable for an Astronaut on his/her journey to Mars ?

JSCNASA197 karma

Without a doubt, the Foo Fighters would be a great choice! -BN

JSCNASA167 karma

Check out Scott Kelly's Spotify playlist "Songs of a Year in Space" for some of his favorite jams: https://news.spotify.com/us/2015/10/19/songs-of-a-year-in-space/

Katy Perry's "Dark Horse", anyone?

Meiz7973 karma

Has the political landscape impacted your endeavours and if so why & what needs to change?

JSCNASA176 karma

One of the really important aspects of ISS is the way we work together with our international partners (Canadian Space Agency, European Space Agency, Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, and Roscosmos). Over 90 countries have participated in some aspect of research or education on ISS. The space station keeps us working peacefully together and I believe even when there are other political difference, this type of international cooperation is good for the world. -JR

darklix8365 karma

What if you get sick while you are in space? what steps and medications will you be able to take? greetings from Monterrey, México =)

JSCNASA70 karma

Hello! The crew are trained before they launch for some basic procedures. And we have medications and procedures for them to follow. We always have a crew surgeon available for phone calls or video conference to assist via telemedicine. SM

crimzinvegan46 karma

Did Scott and Mark Kelly eat the same foods during this experiment? Did NASA track the food input for both of the brothers so that there would be less variations between their environmental conditions, so that the experiment could be more concentrated on the aspect of gravity or the lack thereof?

JSCNASA58 karma

No - they did not eat the same foods. We did track their intakes near data collection sessions, but otherwise they were both free range. :) Although Scott's range was a lot smaller... sms

chibin3ko44 karma

I was watching the livestream of the homecoming of the 3 astronauts and I'm wondering how the point of take off to landing is calculated? Also, what does the inside of the capsule look like? Do the astronauts have a visual of what's going on outside or do they just wait for landing?

JSCNASA72 karma

I will have to pass on the orbital mechanics part of the question, but I can tell you the inside of the capsule is usually pretty packed with people and cargo. Not much room to move around. The crew are strapped in to their seats during the more "dynamic" parts of the trip home. There are two small windows that are up high that the crew can see some things through...like the ablative material coming off the capsule during reentry (as planned!). SM

jrblohm41 karma

Hi team! Amazing work. I've always wondered if/how space alters sleep cycles? Whether changes in duration happen among the astronauts or maybe more frequent but shorter sleeping times, etc. Bonus question: Do you still get a 14:30 sleepy effect that is so common? Thanks!

JSCNASA34 karma

Great question. We do keep an eye on that since the environment is different than what we are used to on earth. Good sleep hygiene, lighting, and consistent schedules can help. The crew is pretty busy at 14:30 in their day so I haven't heard many reports on that effect on ISS. SM

sammd341 karma

I would like to ask you what your academic/general backgrounds are?

How did you get to become scientists working on pioneering space missions like this one? I dream of doing what you all do, but I'm not sure my Microbiology degree is particularly relevant/enough.

JSCNASA63 karma

I got my BS in Biology, and PhD in Nutrition (both from Penn State). NASA is it's own mini-civilization though, with degrees and topics including micro, toxicology, muscle, bone, cardio, and medicine. Outside life sciences - engineering, accounting, lawyers, managers, photographers, etc. - sms

Aarechiga9730 karma

How difficult was it to get a job at NASA? What obstacles did you have to overcome to get where you are?

JSCNASA62 karma

I was looking for a job as my post-doc time was waning, and I applied for an open position with a NASA contractor here in Houston. My grad work was related to nutrition, metabolism, and environmental exposures (cold). I had done animal work and human work, and had some experience with multiple areas of the field. While I'm not positive...I suspect that it was this breadth of experience I had helped my get the job. re: obstacles...I face the every day. Perseverance is the requirement for success. :)

JSCNASA37 karma

I have my BS in Biology and a BS in Chemistry, and a PhD in Ecology. I came to NASA doing Earth Remote sensing for ecological mapping, but the background in life and physical science let me broaden to the work on the space station. We have a whole team of microbiologists that look at ISS as a closed environment and on planetary protection in future missions too. -JR

Echo_37532 karma

What would you consider the most important part of the mission and why? Also, will there be any future long endurance missions that last over the year? If so what would you like to see from that mission that was not seen on this one?

JSCNASA39 karma

Definitely it is the study of the fluid shifts/vision issue over a year. This is our first check of the effects beyond 6 months on ISS. But we will need more crewmembers in order to be sure we will be ready for a longer mission to Mars. -JR

AST-TANMAY26 karma

Along with human crewmates, would we require robots on our Journey To Mars ?

JSCNASA42 karma

A lot of the work going on where we simulate Mars operations here on Earth shows that robotically assisted humans would be able to most efficiently collect the most data. There are some amazing human operated rovers with robotic support being designed. -JR

DrunkWhenSober25 karma

I was curious. What time dilation did the astronauts experience while up there? Did anyone bring an accurate digital watch to see if they might be able to measure a difference from one at home (Earth)?

JSCNASA63 karma

In theory, Einstein's theory of special relativity dictates that Scott aged a fraction of a second less than those of us on Earth.

racl377325 karma

Hello, I assume that if we want to live on another planet someday we will have to procreate "up there".
My question is: Did you study the quality of sperm during this one year mission? If so, is it affected in any way by micro-gravity?

JSCNASA48 karma

This was not something studied on this mission, however, it is a known effect of radiation exposure, but recovers fairly quickly in ground studies. The bigger concerns are whether development will proceed normally in a reduced or zero gravity environment. Early on ISS there were some quail eggs that developed, and the chicks didn't have the otoliths form (the little bones in the ear), so there is a lot we don't know about this area. -JR

snitsaros25 karma

Could virtual reality help improve the physical and, in particular, mental wellbeing of astronauts who are in space for so long and, if so, how?

JSCNASA37 karma

Brianmares21 karma

What were some of the biggest problems encountered during the year in space?

JSCNASA51 karma

One of the biggest challenges we had was not in space, but in our support from Earth. We had several cargo launches that didn't make it and we had to replan the research a lot. The crew was doing great, but we had to be really smart to keep the research and support cargo flowing. Helps you think about how much hard a Mars mission would be logistically. -JR

Qontinent21 karma

Hi there, I was wondering is there any way to find all the scientific publications that have arose from the international space station?

Thanks, very interesting field!

JSCNASA58 karma

Too many to list--you can look them upon many search engines. But here are some links with summaries... The 1YM Research Page – lists all the main categories of research, with links to the various investigations: https://www.nasa.gov/1ym/research The Science Behind Scott Kelly’s #YearInSpace Infographic: http://go.nasa.gov/1oMyTZJ

1YM website (click “The Research” tile for more info): www.nasa.gov/1ym HRP website: www.nasa.gov/hrp What happens to your body in space story: http://www.nasa.gov/hrp/bodyinspace

Twins Study: • The main Twins Study Page: https://www.nasa.gov/twins-study • The Twins Study Research Page – lists all the investigations in which Scott and Mark are participating: https://www.nasa.gov/twins-study/research • ScienceCast: Separated at Launch (Twins Study) http://youtu.be/hmbsqSYeHYM • Double the Data with Space Station Twins Study (animation about the Twins Study) https://youtu.be/epSYavFfLOE • Twins Study blog: Pt. 1 - http://go.nasa.gov/1i1aE6D Pt. 2 - http://go.nasa.gov/21bHlho

Interactive feature: How Astronauts are Affected by Space Exploration: http://go.nasa.gov/1NrBbF6

Fluid Shifts: • NASA Fluid Shifts Study Advances Journey to Mars: http://go.nasa.gov/21bFRUz • A Lab Aloft – Rubber Vacuum Pants that Suck: http://go.nasa.gov/1ZLVpzu • Pressure is on to Find the Cause for Vision Changes in Space: http://go.nasa.gov/24Ei5oG • Video: ScienceCasts: Horn-rims and Funny Stockings on the Space Station: https://youtu.be/RZG0d-WCP7M?list=PL8A2171FA17D43A35

Nutrition: • An Orange a Day Keeps Scurvy Away: http://go.nasa.gov/21bGlKj

Other: • ScienceCast: Using a Tablet Computer in Space https://youtu.be/-ZAcBOf6nnE • Boosting Your Body for Lift Off: NASA's One-Year Mission Investigates – Describes metabolic studies http://go.nasa.gov/21bGGN5 • Journaling: Astronauts Chronicle Missions – Describes the Journals investigation http://go.nasa.gov/21bGNrV • Contemplating Brain Function on the Space Station – Describes the Cognition investigation http://go.nasa.gov/1O9CtGb • What Happens When Your Brain Can’t Tell Which Way is Up? – Describes the Neuromapping investigation http://go.nasa.gov/1OpVdTJ • “Balancing” the One-Year Mission Risks – Describes Field Test and Functional Task Test; studies that clearly demonstrate postflight capability of astronauts http://go.nasa.gov/21bGZaI • Living in Space - and on Earth - is a Balancing Act – Describes Field Test http://go.nasa.gov/1NG5cUs • Walk the Line: NASA Studies Physical Performance After Spaceflight http://go.nasa.gov/21bHaTn • Don’t Stress the Small Stuff: NASA’s One-Year Mission Research Helps Combat Stress and Fatigue http://go.nasa.gov/21bHcKQ • 10 to 1: Bugs Win in NASA Study | One-Year Mission Video Miniseries Highlights Microbes http://go.nasa.gov/21bHqSo • When You Land, Can You Stand? One-Year Mission Video Miniseries: Functional Performance http://go.nasa.gov/21bHstt • Eye on the International Space Station: One-Year Mission Video Miniseries http://go.nasa.gov/21bHwJN

  • jbc

MedPhysics8818 karma

Which areas of the body do you expect Astronaut Scott Kelly to have suffered the greatest decrease in bone density? How long after returning to Earth are scientists able to see an increase in bone density again?

Thank you.

JSCNASA21 karma

Bone loss is primarily in the lower half of the body - spine and legs. We see biochemical changes reflecting return to gravity almost immediately, but bone growth takes time. Our estimates from 4-6 month Mir and ISS missions is that it takes 2-3x the length of the mission to recover bone. The great thing about this mission is that we have no idea what happens with crewmembers on one year missions. sms

Brianmares17 karma

With all this new data collected, we all know a Mars mission is upcoming but how can this data help a future in commercial/civilian space travel?

JSCNASA36 karma

It will take 6-9 months to get to Mars and 6-9 months to get back and that will be in a zero-gravity environment. So one year on ISS tells us about the cumulative effects of that exposure. We need to be sure no health problems will put a future Mars mission at risk. And right now, if we had the vehicle, we would not be ready to go. -JR

JSCNASA30 karma

Everything we learn in spaceflight is applicable to all spaceflight. A Mars mission of 2 1/2 years necessarily includes a one-year mission, which necessarily includes a 6 month mission, which includes all shorter durations, such as those likely for commercial flights. Knowledge about the human body is applicable to all human bodies. jbc

lupusmagnus1117 karma

What sort of steps did you take to prepare Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko for this mission? Did they have to go through training that differs from other missions?

JSCNASA20 karma

Most of the training was the same as for a 6-month mission, however, they had the opportunity to work on many more experiments, so we had to compress the training ahead of the mission. We also trained them on orbit more, since we couldn't always predict the training they would need for an experiment one year later. -JR

303livinn15 karma

Do you believe in extraterrestrial life ?

JSCNASA61 karma

I don't know but I saw this movie called E.T. back in 1982. It looked pretty real to me then. -BN

JSCNASA57 karma

I'm a child of Cosmos and Carl Sagan. With "Millions and Billions" of life-friendly planets out there, there must be something. -JR

jah_92_rastafari15 karma

Were there any truly surprising results or findings from any of the experiments?

JSCNASA19 karma

we don't have results from the one-year mission yet - but from my knothole - we've had several surprising findings. One of these was recently published regarding genetics and astronaut vision issues. We followed biochemical evidence, did a follow-on study looking at initial genetics, and found some striking results. more here: http://www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-studies-link-genetics-and-nutrition-with-astronaut-vision-changes sms

-selina-13 karma

The Twins Study with Scott Kelly and his brother is ultra interesting. When do you think we will we get the results of these? PS you guys rock :)

JSCNASA16 karma

We're waiting until we get the postflight data, collections run through around September. We are also waiting on the next SpaceX launch, which will bring Scott and other crews frozen blod and urine samples back to Earth. We'll start analyses hopefully late this year, and work data and writing into 2017. - sms

AST-TANMAY13 karma

Does living in space for a longer period have an effect on our brain activity ?

JSCNASA23 karma

That is one of our studies. Scott and other astronauts and cosmonauts have volunteered to do some simple mental and physical tasks (not so simple, maybe--adding numbers, recognizing shapes in different orientations, etc.) while inside a MRI so the actual regions of the brain involved in the task can be visualized and measured. jbc

iriskk13 karma

Hello! After you receive the blood work and urine samples that are still on the ISS later this year, how do you guys intend to release the findings from analyses/tests? Will the information be released in batches or will it be a complied report? I'm asking this because I want to know how/what I should keep a look out for.

Thanks! Great job to everyone working on this project, you guys are my heroes!

JSCNASA18 karma

In general - we publish our results in scientific journals. Given our work - usually places like FASEB Journal, J Nutrition, J Bone Mineral Research, etc. The Twins Study data - from all 10 experiments - will be analyzed in bulk, and we hope to publish a main paper first, with likely smaller piece papers to follow. Thanks! sms

CompetentWombat10 karma

Are there any long-term negative side effects that you all are expecting Scott Kelly to have, and if so, could you provide an example?

JSCNASA13 karma

NASA does not expect any long term ill effects from spending this much time in space. Although astronauts will experience some losses and some changes in their bone mineral density and bone structure, these changes tend to revert back to normal after many months. -BN

Lalarobota9 karma

After being in space with no gravity, then returning to space at 4 or 5 Gs, did they black out during the return trip? Vomit? (is that why some were greeted with towels?) Fear for their lives? How hot was it in the pod during return? I totally would've passed out from a panic attack. Curious if it's positive or negative Gs and if that makes a difference in space sickness.

JSCNASA15 karma

Nope no blacking out. Sometimes astronauts can have nausea and vomiting when they return, but in Scott's case he looked great. The towels are always there to wash their faces. It can get pretty warm in the capsule and it just feels good. SM

paradiselost798 karma

Thank you so much for doing this AMA!

Q: We have been using Russian spacecraft for both launching into orbit and returning our astronauts. Do you think that harms the 'aura' of NASA? Do you think we can deploy our own spacecraft soon?

JSCNASA14 karma

we're working on returning the capability to launch astronauts from the U.S. again using the Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon: http://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew

JWylie158 karma

Are there plans for future year-long missions, or even missions longer than a year? If so, how do you see them differing from this previous one other than "more/less time in space"? I imagine for future Mars missions specifically, you can't just "multiply" your findings on Commander Kelly's body for the cumulative time of a Mars trip.

JSCNASA12 karma

NASA's Human Research Program has requested additional year-long missions on ISS, but all the other aspects of such missions must be considered by all the partner agencies, so no final decision has been made one way or the other. The goal would be to do some of the same or similar work measurements as on Scott so we could see the results on a larger number of people--important because of individual variability between people. Much of the change that occurs in weightlessness occurs early in flight--the first few months--and levels off more or less thereafter. So in at least a few areas, it is probably okay to extrapolate from 6-month and 1-year missions to 2.5 year Mars missions. But others require different approaches. jbc

carlyjomont7 karma

What is the most important psychological research being done right now at NASA? How far do we still have to go in that area of study? How will we care for the minds of the crew members who travel to Mars?

JSCNASA11 karma

The three major topics are behavioral medicine (what happens to an astronaut during spaceflight), team (how do groups of people work together effectively in stressful, confined environments) and sleep/circadian rhythm studies. jbc

-selina-6 karma

Welcome home to Scott Kelly - hopefully he's relaxing somewhere after his mission! I've been following Scott on Instagram and have seen the most amazeballs photos of our incredible planet. Will NASA be releasing a book?! Also, please can I go into space now please pretty please?

JSCNASA5 karma

There are several books out there that focus on the views of Earth taken by astronauts. You can view the whole catalog and search for places of interest online too. Some images available from nowhere else are cities at night and oblique photos of the atmosphere. -JR http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov

commandrix5 karma

What experiments will Scott and Mark Kelly still have to participate in during the "aftermath" of the year in space? What do you hope to learn from them that will help with the Journey To Mars?

JSCNASA4 karma

The same experiments as in-flight: muscle function, cardiovascular stress using fluid shifting, blood draws, psychological testing. Everything we learn will be specifically applicable to planning and then doing the Mars missions. jbc

sneks5 karma

Why no woman has been chosen for the year in space mission? Is there any difference in adaptation and processes that happens to the people of different sexes in space?

JSCNASA6 karma

It just hasn't happened yet! SM

EyeOfSol5 karma

What are most valuable insights that will come from the project? And what is the impact of having this knowlegde on future missions?

JSCNASA6 karma

One thing that I think is really important us understanding the behavioral and psychosocial effects of a longer mission. We know that crew members get ready to come home at the end of their mission. Its a form of "senioritis" we sometimes call the "third quarter effect." As missions get longer, the impacts of being away from your family and isolated from people are expected to be bigger. Scott participated in several studies of performance to get scientific data on this issue. -JR

SpookyKasper4 karma

Okay, this one is rather inane compared to the others - how would glasses stay on someone's head in low gravity situations?

JSCNASA7 karma

Fortunately astronauts ears hold them up the same way as they do on Earth! -JR

MikeCian3 karma

Is the risk of getting skin cancer from UV rays higher for someone who has spent so long without the protection of Earth's atmosphere?

JSCNASA3 karma

The space craft are shielded to protect crews from uv light. This is why getting vitamin D in the diet (or from supplements) is important, because the body needs uv light to make vitamin D. BUT - the astronauts are exposed to radiation that the craft can't shield, and incrased cancer risk is a concern. This gets worse when we leave low-Earth orbit. sms

Noshgosh3 karma

How long does it take for astronauts to walk properly again after landing back on earth?

JSCNASA6 karma

Astronauts usually begin walking soon after landing. As they begin to readapt to gravity we see a change in the way the perform all physical tasks, including walking. Some take longer depending on the level their balance and coordination or has been effected. Astronauts go through a 45 day reconditioning program with the Astronaut Strength, Conditioning and Rehabilitation group where all the physical deficits are addressed. But most astronauts walk pretty normally within a few days. -BN

Sheehan73 karma

What is the next big milestone you want to achieve in space mission length wise? We have seen what happens to a man after 1 year in space now what 2 years? 5 years? Or maybe different variations of mission time to see how it further affects someone.

JSCNASA4 karma

We are really focused on 1-year as the model for a transit to Mars. So we have a practical need for the knowledge. The longer duration the more the risk, so we would never just extend the time to set a record. -JR

meekul253 karma

1) Is the vision loss due to damage to optic nerve, altered stacking of crystallins in the eye, loss of muscle strength around the eye ? 2) Is there any alteration in cognitive functions, memory, vocabulary ?

JSCNASA4 karma

there are a few issues that occur - optic disc edema, choroidal folds, cotton wool spots, etc. Not all crews develop eye issues, and affected crews don't have all of these. Still working to find the cause/mechanism, and then find ways to prevent or treat. sms

ShawshankException1 karma

What sort of physical and mental toll does one year in space have on a person?

JSCNASA3 karma

As far as physical stress, astronauts in microgravity will experience a number of losses in areas of bone mineral density, muscle mass and strength, cardiovascular endurance, balance and coordination and many more. NASA has developed countermeasure systems to counteract the physical effects of microgravity through exercise.

prettylittlefox1 karma

Do you have any advice for someone who hopes to join NASA's research endeavors?

JSCNASA2 karma

We can't wait to have you! We have frequent opportunities for researchers to conduct science on ISS. Keep an eye on this page: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/research_information.html

madmaxpower91 karma

Would a dog die if it spent a year in outer space?

JSCNASA2 karma

Not if it was inside a habitat with all of its need met, like ISS. But if you mean would it die if dumped out the airlock, yes, in less than a minute, just like a person would. Let's hope that never happens. jbc

madmaxpower91 karma

Do chicks dig astronauts?

JSCNASA4 karma

Yes, but I'm a scientist, and chicks dig scientists for sure. jbc