nstead of shrinking, Scott’s telomeres grew longer in-flight. “It was exactly the opposite of what we thought, but that’s what science is all about, right?” said Bailey, with the rueful smile of a seasoned scientist. “We were wrong, that was the first reaction. We now need to correlate our findings with some of the results from other investigations to give us confidence that what we are seeing is real,” she said. Even at this early stage, a whole new set of questions is emerging.
It's not clear yet what caused the lengthening of Scott Kelly's telomeres, though
“Radiation would have to be at the top of my list,” Bailey said. “You might say, ‘Oh this is a great thing, his telomeres are longer, maybe he’ll live longer.’ And yet, like most things, there’s an opposite side of that coin. The opposite side is that’s exactly what cancers do. They turn on telomerase and they maintain their telomere length.” Other possibilities include changes in metabolic rate due to the regimented space diet and intense exercise on-station. Scott Kelly lost 15 pounds in his year on the station. “One big aspect is that nutrition and exercise can positively affect your telomere length, which can be a great predictor of aging,” McKenna said. There is also support for the view that positive attitudes and mindfulness – perhaps as in living out a lifetime dream or goal – can influence telomeres for the better.
A year spent in artificial intelligence is enough to make one believe in God.