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Being an astronaut is everyone's dream at one time or another. Countless play dates were spent with me pretending to be Buzz Lightyear and my obsession with space has continued well into adulthood. Like most kids, however, I dreamed about exploring and finding glory, but the truth is working at NASA is often a whole lot more scientific. In fact, a new study lead by the space experts is hoping to figure out what weightlessness does to the human body.
According to the Washington Post, NASA plans to conduct a year long experiment on a pair of twins who also just happen to be astronauts. Scott Kelly, currently working for the space program, and his retired astronaut brother Mark Kelly, have agreed to work from both space and on earth to help scientists figure out the effects of a lack of gravity on our bodies. Scott will be venturing into orbit for a full year while earth dwelling brother Mark undergoes extensive medical testing. The 50 year old twins are looking forward to helping the researchers out, but Mark is insistent on not chowing down on any astronaut food. I for one love astronaut ice cream and think he's missing out big time.
Mark Kelly is no stranger to that type of cuisine though. During his active period for NASA between 2001 and 2011, he orbited the globe a hundred times. I can't even imagine how fun the dinner conversations in that family are. Sharing those once in a life time views of our planet with anyone would be special, but with your twin would be incredible. While Mark won't be flying through space this time, his part in the research is just as important.
Brother Scott Kelly won't be alone in his flight though. Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko will be joining him on his journey. I for one look very much forward to learning more about how space effects how our bodies function and change. Maybe it will lead to research that allows us to some day live among the stars. With attempts to live in space hopefully being made in the not too distant futures, information from this study may have a key role in shaping our desire to expand out into the universe as a species.
The above video is from NASA's YouTube page of an interview with the Kelly brothers from 2011. They discuss some of their previous missions and you get a glimpse at their personalities, too. I wish them all the best of luck and hope their mission is successful and not to difficult. Maybe I'll be launching myself into space one day. I'm going to have to get myself some of that tasty astronaut ice cream in the mean time.