By: Beverly Kwakye
Two astronauts today told a House committee on Science, Space, and Technology that space exploration and research methods indeed pays off on Earth. They testified from space to prove it!
NASA astronaut Commander Scott Kelly and NASA astronaut and Flight-Engineer Kjell Lindgren, answered questions from 240 miles above Earth, about how the human body reacts to the harsh environments in space.
The studies gathered from space can help identify areas and experiments that can also help people on the ground, Lindgren said. “We have a whole suite of experiments up here, he explained, “240 experiments during the time that I’m here,” Lindgren continued.
The astronauts spoke for 20 minutes as the committee reviewed scientific research methods that were designed to study life on Earth, beyond Earth, and recent astrobiology findings.
Kelly and Lindgren explained how the biomedical research done in space brings results that can benefit people on Earth, specifically in medical field.
Before their testimony from far away, visitors could stop by exhibitors who were advocating more science education and research, in order to develop medicines that may one day be available as commercial products on Earth.
Research Associate Luis Zea, who represented the BioServe Space Technologies exhibit which supported space and life science, explained the research BioServe does and its connection to expanding medical technology.
The biomedical and biotech research exhibits displayed samples of current research studies taking place abroad the International Space Station and the innovations used to advance astronauts’ experiments.
According to Lindgren, many of the experiments conducted look at common health matters such as, bone loss, immune system dysfunction, and muscle wasting.
Kelly and Lindgren emphasized the role biomedical research has in medical findings, with an example from a past Rodent Research experiment.
During this experiment, Scott worked with mice in space studying how their bodies changed while under zero gravity conditions. According to experimenters, the results of studies like Kelly’s can lead to the creation of new drugs that battle the effects of disease or aging, bringing benefits to people on Earth.
According to Kelly, the research conducted in space varies by category. These categories fall into several disciplines, “whether its medical stuff or for instance the life support system here.” “Its something that’s very important for exploration,” Kelly recounted.
By understanding “how people can live and work in space for longer periods of time,” gives astronauts the knowledge to travel further from Earth, even allowing the possibility of a visit to Mars Kelly exclaimed.