Astronauts suffer decades of bone loss from months in space, study reveals

Astronauts on space missions lasting longer than six months suffer decades’ worth of bone loss, much of which could be irreversible, a new study has found. The finding may present a serious challenge to future crewed missions to Mars.

For missions that last six months or longer, astronauts’ exposure to the microgravity of space causes them to experience bone loss equivalent to two decades of aging. And only half of the lost bone recovers after a year back on Earth, leaving them with a decade of age to their bone structure, researchers wrote in a study published June 30 in the journal Scientific Reports (opens in new tab).

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