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This is your brain on Mars: what space travel does to our psychology

What happens to our brains, and our mental health, in space? As NASA explores a potential mission to Mars, the question has become urgent

By Nayef Al-Rodhan  

America wants to go to Mars. In October 2016, the US reconfirmed its ambition to send people to the Red Planet by the 2030s. In the spring of 2017, the new US administration expressed similar ambitions.

Yet to successfully plan and conduct a mission to Mars, NASA needs to know how space affects human physiology in long-duration space travel.

Scott Kelly—the American astronaut to spend the longest amount of time in space—is helping NASA understand the physiological effects of a zero-gravity confined environment and radiation on the human body and mind.

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