Scientists might know why astronauts develop health problems in space

People are more likely to develop health issues with extended time in space, such as cardiovascular and sleep disruptions. But why? Scientists might have an idea. They’ve published research indicating that mitochondria, the energy-producing “powerhouses” of cells, may play a key role. Mice with eye and liver problems in studies often had mitochondrial dysfunctions, while NASA astronaut Scott Kelly (above) might have faced immune system changes aboard the International Space Station in 2015 as a result of mitochondrial problems.

Bodily fluid samples from many other astronauts also supported claims that mitochondrial activity changed while in space.