Hi everyone! I’m Tim Peake and welcome on board the International Space Station!
Here in space, our bodies undergo many physiological changes. We age much more quickly—and our bones are no exception.
As we get older on Earth, we typically lose about 1% of our bone mass per year. In space, however, we can lose up to 1.5% per month!
Thankfully, once astronauts return to Earth, we regain a lot of our bone mass. But we know very little about how this may have affected the strength of our bones.
Dr. Steven Boyd from the University of Calgary is studying this very issue with the support of the Canadian Space Agency.
As part of an experiment called “TBone,” Dr. Boyd and his team are examining changes to bone mass, structure and strength.
To do this, they are using a new 3D imaging technology that allows them to see bone structure and density in high resolution.
Ten astronauts are scheduled to take part in the experiment by having their forearm and leg scanned before and after their mission to the International Space Station.
These 3D images will help scientists better understand the bone health of astronauts, both while they are in space and during their recovery period on Earth.
Since the effects of microgravity on our skeletons are similar to what happens as we age on Earth—and also to bedridden patients—TBone could help identify people who are susceptible to bone loss and lead to personalized treatment strategies.
Research on space health is benefitting everyone—both on Earth and in space.
This is really a model in space of accelerated aging. So what we can learn in 6 months of spaceflight would take us a decade on Earth.