India's Chandrayaan lunar missions have showcased impressive achievements in space exploration. Chandrayaan-1, launched by ISRO, not only derived its name from "moon craft" in Hindi but also made history by discovering lunar water in 2008-09. It employed diverse light wavelengths to map the Moon and identify elements, minerals, and ice. Building on this success, Chandrayaan-2, launched in 2019, marked ISRO's lunar landing debut.

Now, Chandrayaan-3 amplifies the excitement. Launched on July 14, this lander and rover mission targets the Moon's south pole, with an anticipated landing in late August. Outfitted with advanced scientific instruments, it promises to deepen our lunar comprehension. As it nears its lunar goal, captivating images depict growing lunar craters. Chandrayaan-3's integrated system of orbiter, lander, and rover aspires to make history with a touchdown on August 23.
This accomplishment will further elevate India's space standing, propelling it to become only the fourth nation, after the US, the former Soviet Union, and China, to achieve a soft landing on the Moon—an event that embodies the remarkable progress of India's space journey.

For eons, the allure of space travel has mesmerized humankind, sparking our imagination and driving us to push the boundaries of exploration. Beyond the exhilaration of venturing into the great unknown, research has unveiled an extraordinary link between space travel and the aging process here on Earth. As astronauts voyage into the vastness of outer space, their bodies undergo changes that bear a striking resemblance to the natural effects of aging.

Aging is an inevitable part of life, causing bones to weaken, muscles to wither, and the immune system to wane in strength. Remarkably, these age-related changes aren't confined to our terrestrial abode; they manifest in astronauts during their journeys through the cosmos. Scholars, publishing their findings in esteemed scientific journals, have revealed that space travel alters gene function, disrupts the balance of cellular mitochondria, and even disturbs the chemical harmony within cells.

Aging in Space: A Surprising Parallel

What's truly fascinating is that the aging process in space seems to transpire at an accelerated pace compared to our familiar Earthly progression. For example, the heart, blood vessels, bones, and muscles of astronauts may deteriorate approximately ten times faster in the microgravity environment beyond our planet. This rapid aging phenomenon has captivated the attention of the scientific community, presenting an unprecedented opportunity to conduct real-time aging studies on astronauts, sidestepping the lengthy wait for aging to run its course on Earth.

Beyond the tantalizing prospect of understanding aging in the cosmos, the parallels between space travel and age-related disorders, such as cancer and osteoporosis, captivate our curiosity. While this connection raises considerations for long-duration space missions, it concurrently grants a valuable lens through which we can gain deeper insights into the aging process within the human body.

Extended periods spent in space introduce a reduction in workload for the heart, bones, and muscles due to microgravity's influence. Consequently, these vital components of the human body gradually weaken from underutilization. Moreover, the unique microgravity environment inflicts changes on fluid-filled tissues and may even alter the shapes of organs, like the brain. Adding to the complexity, higher background radiation levels beyond Earth's protective atmosphere heighten the risk of DNA damage and cancer.

The Effects of Space Travel on Cellular Function

Michael Roberts, the interim chief scientist of the ISS National Laboratory, highlights that space travel's impact on the body isn't confined to a singular event; rather, it constitutes a continuous and lasting condition. This shift in cellular equilibrium induces significant changes in how cells respond to their environment.

While some of these changes may reverse upon the astronauts' return to Earth, they remain an invaluable model for grasping the chronic aging process. The discoveries open up potential pathways to shield ourselves against the mechanisms that drive aging and age-related afflictions.

The Twin Paradox and Aging: An Intriguing Perspective

Drawing from the realm of science fiction, the thought-provoking Twin Paradox, as showcased in the movie "Interstellar," lends another dimension to our understanding of space travel and aging. The concept posits that individuals experiencing diverse gravitational fields or traveling at varying speeds may undergo aging at different rates. This tantalizing idea proposes that twins born on the same date could, theoretically, end up with disparate ages if one undertakes near-light-speed travel.

The NASA Twins Study: Unveiling the Impact of Space Travel on Human Health

Among the groundbreaking studies on this intriguing subject is the NASA Twins Study, which delved into the experiences of astronaut twin brothers, Scott and Mark Kelly. Thoroughly monitoring Scott's physiological changes during his year-long space voyage and comparing them to Mark's experiences on Earth, researchers made enthralling discoveries. The study investigated alterations in gene expression profiles, the gut microbiome, cognitive abilities, and cardiovascular systems.

A pivotal revelation arose from the study's findings: Scott's telomere length underwent fluctuations. Telomeres, vital DNA regions safeguarding chromosomes from harm, play a significant role in aging and health. Astonishingly, Scott experienced telomere lengthening in space, but upon his return to Earth, they swiftly shrank. This dynamic shift in telomere length bears potential health implications, including an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer.

A Cosmic Opportunity: Space Travel and Human Health

The inimitable environment of space travel unveils cosmic opportunities to enhance human health. Scientific innovations, borne out of efforts to adapt humans to space, have led to groundbreaking health-promoting therapies. For instance, harnessing proteins from resilient microorganisms like tardigrades holds promise not only for space travel but also for addressing age-related diseases that plague humanity.

Embarking on the Journey of Discovery

In essence, our odyssey into space isn't solely about unearthing distant celestial secrets; it casts a revelatory light on the intricacies of human aging and health. Space travel offers an unparalleled opportunity to study aging in real-time on astronauts, paving the way for novel therapies and safeguards against age-related ailments. As we continue our cosmic voyage, let us embrace the chance to gain profound insights into the aging process, revealing the hidden mysteries within ourselves amid the boundless expanse of the universe.