The potential breakthrough came in part thanks to NASA’s open-source GeneLab platform. The tool aggregates large volumes of space biology data from around the world, including cell info as well as DNA, RNA and proteins.
The findings reinforce concerns that astronauts could face significant health challenges going forward, particularly for trips to the Moon and Mars. The discovery could be crucial to overcoming those problems, however. Lead study author Afshin Beheshti told NASA this could lead to “countermeasures and drugs” that keep people living well in space for long periods. It may be safe to spend months in orbit or deep space trips, then — you may just need to take precautions until you’re within the relative safety of Earth.