Video | Risks of breaking space records: ‘Future trips’, muscle loss and even erection problems Science

A few days ago, Oleg Kononenko of Russia became the person to spend the most time in space. It has now been in orbit for 878 days, nearly two and a half years, accumulated over the course of five missions to the International Space Station, and is still in orbit. It surged last September and won’t return until next September, when it will have accumulated more than three years, 1,110 days.

Extended space travel has consequences and they have been carefully studied thanks to people like Kononenko. His work, and that of others like him, will be vital in understanding the risks and needs of humans on upcoming trips to the Moon and Mars. More than 1% of muscle mass and bone mineral density is lost every month in space. Reaching Earth after half a year in orbit, years of recovery are required and there is an increased risk of broken bones, erectile dysfunction or cancer due to exposure to cosmic radiation.

People who have lived the longest in space have had extraordinary experiences such as Russian Sergei Krikalev, who launched into space from the Soviet Baikonur Cosmodrome in May 1991 and landed in March 1992, when the USSR had disintegrated. Due to a strange phenomenon predicted by Albert Einstein, in the more than 800 days Krikalev has spent in space, he has traveled 20 milliseconds into the future.

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