Amazon.com and Blue Origin aerospace company billionaire Jeff Bezos believes that in the future, 90% of humans will live in colonies of giant O’Neill-style space stations. That refers to Princeton physics professor Gerard O’Neill, who in the 1970s posited the idea of the human race living in mile-long, rotating cylindrical space colonies. Is such a thing possible? Possibly.
An article published by New Atlas reported on the Gateway Foundation wanting to build a “Rotating Space Station: a hub-and-spokes design” that, if rotating fast enough, would generate enough artificial gravity to allow a person to walk around in 2G and become “a superman rippling with muscle.”
Space Travel’s Effect on the Body
Gateway’s promotional video reports physical results experienced by astronaut Scott Kelly once he returned to Earth after 342 days spent on the International Space Station. With Scott’s twin Mark also an astronaut, the NASA Twins Study was launched. As Scott was examined in space, Mark was monitored on Earth to track any differences between them. Scott Kelly grew two inches taller over the course of the year due to the reduced gravity environment of the ISS. There was a decline in Scott’s bone formation during his mission, however, which could forecast trouble if people in the future come and go from Earth as predicted.
How could people living in space combat such troubles?
Recent developments in anti-aging would help. Susan Bailey, a biologist at Colorado State University, found that telomeres on the ends of chromosomes in Scott Kelly’s white blood cells increased in length while on the ISS. Think of telomeres as protective caps on the ends of DNA strands. When human cells divide, they replicate their DNA so that each new cell gets all the operating instructions. The shortening of telomeres is associated with body aging, due to the loss of important coding regions of DNA which impairs cell division and, thereby, cell health. Scott Kelly’s positive results might be linked to increased exercise and reduced caloric intake during his time in space, but his telomeres began to shorten again once he was back on the planet.
Astronauts returning to Earth are prone to dizziness, have thinner and weaker muscles, and experience a decrease in bone density by as much as 12 percent over a year’s time, because aging and body functions are directly related to Earth’s gravity. According to University of Waterloo researcher Richard Hughson, “Astronauts actually do get older, faster.” This is why, in space, NASA astronauts exercise for two-and-a-half hours a day, six days a week, and talk to psychologists every two weeks.
How does the prospect of living on a space colony sound now?
Slowing Physical Decline
You probably won’t make it to a space station or colony any time soon, but getting regular exercise has been proven to slow down physical decline. This is particularly true for seniors, who should consider supplements that build up levels of the molecule NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine) in cells. Why? Because a person’s NAD+ levels heavily decrease with age. By age 50, a typical person has only half the NAD+ they had at 20. By 80, NAD+ levels are almost gone, more so with men than women.
NAD+ fights DNA damage, inflammation, and boosts mitochondria, the “energy power plants” in cells. Studies have shown that NMN supplements that boost the production of NAD+ provide benefits associated with exercise, may slow aging, and contribute to longer telomeres in cells.
The telomerase enzyme in our cells adds the short, repetitive telomere caps to DNA strands. If telomerase is inactivated, it accelerates aging independently of telomere length. A study published in the European Heart Journal examined the effects of endurance training, interval training (IT), and resistance training (RT) on telomerase activity and telomere length (TL) and found that endurance training and IT, but not RT, increased telomerase activity and TL, which are important for healthy aging. In space or on Earth. ET (no excuses for the pun) and IT can contribute to longer life.
Another study at the Department of Internal Medicine, University of Pisa, Italy evaluated long-term physical activity, plasma antioxidant status, and conduit artery endothelial function in young and older healthy men. Results suggested regular physical activity is associated with preserved antioxidant defenses and endothelial function in older individuals.
Endothelial cells line the interior surface of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels. Given the 60,000 miles of blood vessels that must function well to deliver oxygen to your muscles and organs, you should know that the blood vessels of older athletes function as well as those of people half their age.
Running causes more mitochondria to sprout inside your cells. So, what if you want to start running but just don’t have the energy? In 2017, a research team at the University of Exeter discovered that applied compounds called resveratrol analogues caused inactive senescent cells (cells that don’t grow or function as they should) to divide, resulting in longer telomeres within hours of treatment.
You’ve probably seen or heard of resveratrol supplements. NMN expert David Sinclair PhD, a Professor in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical, takes 750 mg of NMN and 1,000 mg of resveratrol daily. In addition to offering a substantial amount of NMN, Herbalmax Reinvigorator also contains pterostilbene, a compound used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine that is closely related structurally to resveratrol. vates sirtuins, proteins involved in regulating cellular processes including the aging and death of cells and their resistance to stress.
If you’re not running but want to age more slowly, or desire to simply acquire the energy to become a runner, you might look into supplements that promote the production of NAD+. Perhaps you’re past astronaut age, and may never see the inside of a rotating space colony, but you could end up feeling much better, having a longer life, and feel a rocket boost of energy, too.
Read here the AGEIST post on NAD+
Read here the AGEIST post on longevity and metformin
Read here Living to 125 and Beyond
What an interesting article, don’t know if I’ll ever live in space but living longer is certainly something I’m interested in.
Ha, me too. But one never knows, maybe Elon will have us living on Mars in 10 years!