space shuttle landing in the desert with a chase plane in front

Short-duration space shuttle missions may have put its astronauts at a higher risk for cancer, a new study concludes. (Image credit: NASA)

The study concluded that the risk of cancer in astronauts needs to be monitored.

The study concluded that all fourteen astronauts from NASA's space shuttle program had genetic alterations in their stem cells. Even though the astronauts' age was a factor, the mutations was below a level of concern.

The results of the study are not very impressive. The researchers suggest that astronauts should be screened for possible genetic defects. The study found that astronauts aren't dying from cancer because of space radiation.

Looking back at Atlantis' final mission 10 years later is related.

The new study team said in a statement that monitoring programs will be crucial as NASA reaches for long-duration deep space missions through its Artemis program on the moon. Both the new study and the cancer study are considered short-term missions.

In light of the growing interest in both commercial spaceflights and deep space exploration, and the potential health risks of exposure to various harmful factors, the team decided to pursue the new study.

Critics said NASA discriminated against women by changing its radiation requirements for astronauts. Other genders have not been disclosed.

space shuttle lifting off at night, with a reflection in the water in front

A back end view of a space shuttle launching into space. Radiation risks for astronauts on these short-duration missions is still being studied. (Image credit: NASA)
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Compared to the population who has been to space, the researchers found a higher incidence of mutations in the astronauts' genes.

The space cohort flew on shuttles for an average of 12 days. The majority of the group was male and six of the astronauts were new to the job.

On the day of landing, researchers took blood samples from the astronauts. Three days later, white blood cells were collected. The blood samples were kept in a freezer for 20 years.

The genes were found to have less than 2% of their genes missing. The risk of developing cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer is increased for those who violate that threshold.

There is a risk that astronauts will develop cardiovascular disease or cancer if they are exposed to deep space for a long time.

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