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Space Travel & Aging: Was Einstein Wrong?

03/30/2006 2:33 PM

Interesting article from science@nasa.com. Einstein's Twin Paradox, developed from the Theory of Relativity, tells us that two brothers, one an astronaut and one on Earth would age differently if the astronaut brother travelled through space. The astronaut would not age as quickly as rapid space travel (at near light speed) would change the rate at which time progresses.

However, some researchers, according to the article, disagree with this hypothesis, instead believing that the astronaut brother would indeed age more quickly. The reason - long exposure to cosmic rays and increased radiation would damage Telomere strands in the chromosomes causing the body to age more rapidly.

Sounds logical, but I have a problem with the title of the article. Einstein's theories are focused on time, not on genetics and the bodies ability to replicate itself, so to say "was Einstein wrong" is a bit of a misnomer. The theory is still sound.

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#1

confused notions

03/31/2006 12:07 AM

They both age at exactly the same rate it is just that there is a relative difference between their vectors in time. How *well* they age is a separate issue. Maybe if the one on earth eats poorly and smokes he can offset the gene damage from the gamma rays that the other experiences and they would both die in the same number of respective years.

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Anonymous Poster
#2

Junk Science

03/31/2006 8:38 AM

That is borderline junk science. Einstein's time dialation effect has been demonstrated in multiple expeiments on the Shuttle and space station.

What this author is doing is simply trying to grab people's attention by riding on the back of a completely different scientific principle. There is no relation to the two effects other than they share the vacuum of space, which we all know is not a true vacuum from a different set of posts.

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Participant

Join Date: Mar 2006
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#3

Einstein and aging

03/31/2006 9:53 AM

In this story the authors confuse the physics with physiology. Twin's paradox is "imaginary concept" inteded to illustrate that such physical entity as "TIME" changes (slows down) when another physical entity called "SPEED" increases. Lay people love stories. And to make the scientific concept more appealing to them Einstein himself (or whoever did it) added the "human" element into the concept of time! And the story of TWIN BROTHERS start marching! The theory of relativity and TWIN PARADOX do not deal with gender or health of those notorius brothers...they very well could be a SISTERS, to serve the purpose!

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Anonymous Poster
#4

Appart from the mixed metaphore...the greater prob

03/31/2006 2:51 PM

From what I understand about telomeres, they work to produce an enzyme called telomerase. This enzime is critical to celular division...( Here it gets a bit fuzzy)... so if these spacemen were to be given telomerase, would that at least emeliorate the symptoms?, ie cells could still reproduce. The drawback is that cancerous cells or those damaged otherwise by radiation would also be allowed to reproduce, regardless of the state of their telomeres. What is needed then is a new kind of targeted telomerase inhibitor... ie if a cell is damaged to a specified extent, deny it the enzyme. A new type of space-oncology if you will.

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