Studies offer tips on lessening spaceflight-related risk

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Studies offer tips on lessening spaceflight-related risk

(Published in Cornell Chronicle)

Space travel, illnesses like COVID-19 and climbing Mount Everest can trigger the body’s stress response systems in similar ways, according to new studies by Weill Cornell Medicine, space agencies and other investigators.

The discoveries, including new maps of the abundance of mutations and immune changes found in blood cells during spaceflight, may lead to new ways to protect space travelers. They may also provide insights on caring for Earth-bound patients with illnesses that trigger similar physiological responses.

Christopher Mason, an associate professor of physiology and biophysics at Weill Cornell Medicine, led multiple studies by teams of investigators spanning four of the largest space agencies in the world – NASA; the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA); the European Space Agency (ESA); and Russia’s ROSCOSMOS – as well as academic institutions and industry groups.