Previous studies revealed that space travel might cause some severe conditions in astronauts engaged in deep space journeys. Even more, some researchers concluded that traveling in space for long periods might shorten the lifespan of astronauts. Surprisingly, a new study came out to say that space travel is not shortening astronauts’ lives.
“The challenge has always been to understand if astronauts are as healthy as they would be had they been otherwise comparably employed but had never gone to space at all. To do this, we needed to find a group that is comparable on several important factors, but has never been to space,” explained the mortality researcher Robert Reynolds for the Reuters, during an interview issued on Wednesday.
And indeed the researcher has found the group of people willing to participate. While Reynolds concluded with some good news for astronauts, that might not be applicable for the future humans the space agencies around the world would fly to space.
Space Travel Is Not Shortening Astronauts’ Lives
As astronauts are fitter than the regular Americans, Robert Reynolds took data from National Basketball Association (NBA) and Major League Baseball (MLB) players, who are almost as fit as astronauts. The researcher compared the data he gathered on NBA or MLB male players between 1960 and 2018 with the info on male US astronauts he collected from NASA.
“We cannot be sure from the data we have, but we speculate that cardiovascular fitness, in particular, is the most important factor in astronaut longevity,” Reynolds explained, and then he added that astronauts present lower risks of premature death than the average population.
The new study fills a significant gap in the regular people’s understanding of the effects of space travel on human health and, more importantly, on the lifespan. In short, according to Robert Reynolds, the leading author of this new research, space travel is not shortening astronauts’ lives. However, the study is not debating the impact of cosmic radiations on the astronauts’ lifespans.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.