The migration of humanity into
the cosmos is quickly evolving into a dynamic, ever-changing enterprise of historic
importance. In the several years that were required to write this pair of books,
we were constantly updating even as we were finalizing them. And
yet, the advance of exploration and preparation for the first colonists who will soon
be departing Earth forever continues at an ever-quickening pace.
In this section of our continually updated web presence, we will be posting important new developments for you to consider
as they arrive on our news feeds and metadata searches. We will link these updates to
chapters in Books One and Two for your convenience.
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Scientists Found Genetic Mutations in Every Astronaut
Blood Sample They Studied
Mount Sinai Hospital - August 2022
Astronauts are at higher risk for developing mutations—possibly linked to spaceflight—that can increase the risk of developing cancer and heart disease during their lifetimes, according to a first-of-its kind study from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
A team of researchers collected blood samples from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronauts who flew space shuttle missions between 1998 and 2001. They discovered DNA mutations, known as somatic mutations, in the blood-forming system (hematopoietic stem cells) in all 14 astronauts studied. Their findings, published in the August issue of Nature Communications Biology, suggest that spaceflight could be associated with these mutations and emphasize the importance of ongoing blood screening of astronauts throughout their careers and during their retirement to monitor their health.
In Context - by Dennis Chamberland
(See Chapter Titled "Chronic Cosmic Radiation Exposure Etiology" - Departing Earth Forever: Book One)
As alarming as this headline sounds, in context, hundreds of astronauts have had longer exposures to the space environment in low Earth orbit for nearly half a century than those studied and there has also been research providing evidence that low Earth orbiting astronauts protected by the Van Allen shields do not exhibit elevated incidents of cancer. (Click here for a review of that study.) And yet the reviewer also clearly warned in scientific context, "As a cancer research scientist who works on DNA damage and how it causes cancer, I am not surprised that this study concluded no substantial effect on cancer risk. However, in a decade or two time the picture may be very different. Larger numbers of astronauts who have spent great spans of time in space will be reaching old age where even normal people are quite likely to get cancer. It may be that historically shorter spells in space have little-to-no effect, but those with longer stints start to show an increased risk of cancer."