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Index – Science – Six months in space means ten years of bone aging

During space missions lasting six months or more, astronauts’ bones are twenty years old. writes a. If they return to Earth’s gravitational field, the bones begin to harden again science news.

Bones are living organs, active and constantly changing, but weaken without gravity

Says Lee Gabel, a scientist at the University of Calgary in Canada. Gabel and his colleagues followed 17 astronauts (3 women and 14 men) who had an average age of 47 years and spent four to seven months in space.

The team used high-resolution peripheral quantitative tomography (pQCT), which can measure the finer structure of bone more precisely than a human hair. The fitter took the shinbone from the lower leg and the bone in the lower arm (the spindle bone) as samples to depict the bone structure, and took the images at four time points: before space flight, when the astronauts returned, six months and one year later.

Based on this, bone strength and density were calculated. Astronauts in space for less than six months regained their pre-flight bone strength after returning to Earth for a year. However, those who remained in space for a longer period of time experienced permanent aging of the tibia corresponding to a decade. This is particularly troubling when considering future two-year Mars missions. The bone structure of the lower arm showed almost no changes, probably because these are not bearing bones. According to Gabel’s research fellow, Stephen Boyd, weight-bearing exercises in space can help reduce bone loss.


A whole set of stents are connected, which ensures the strength of the orthopedic. This is what astronauts lose during spaceflight.

Once this microscopic tissue is gone, it cannot be reconstructed, but the remaining tissue can be strengthened.

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Gabel, Boyd and their colleagues hope to understand how a space mission of more than seven months affects bones. This research is also part of a planned NASA project that studies the effects of a one-year space mission on the body.

(Cover Image: NASA/Getty Images)