The longer a space mission lasts, the higher the chances that the lost density and strength will not be recovered. In the research paper, bone loss caused by spaceflight is described as a phenomenon similar to age-related bone loss, albeit one that occurs at a much faster rate. However, the pattern of bone loss in space, and in which region of the body it occurs, differs from the natural aging process on Earth.
Despite the differences, the negative results are similar. Long-term space travel can lead to the early onset of serious problems such as osteoporosis and higher susceptibility to fractures. The research postulates that a change in medication and the development of new fitness routines could help combat some of the bone-related damage caused by an extended stay in space.
According to previous studies, for every month spent in space, astronauts lose between 1% and 2% of their bone mineral density. A 2018 examination of NASA astronaut Scott Kelly found that his stay in space slowed his bone formation and also affected his cognitive abilities. Another study published in Nature Medicine found that red blood cells are destroyed in space at a rate that is 54% higher than on Earth, raising fears of anemia for astronauts on missions to distant destinations such as Mars. and beyond.