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The Case Of The Missing T-Cells

Scanning electron micrograph of T lymphocyte (right), a platelet (center) and a red blood cell (left).
Scanning electron micrograph of T lymphocyte (right), a platelet (center) and a red blood cell (left).

We talk a lot about the hardware that’s going to get us to Mars, but the most important things about human spaceflight is, well, humans! There’s a lot of research going into the impact space travel has on the body. Just think back to Scott Kelly’s year in space.

We’re going to have to jump over quite a bit of physiological hurdles when traveling to deep space. There’s living in reduced gravity environment, dealing with radiation, nutrient deficiencies, all sorts of challenges.

There’s also the immune system. My next guest found something rather interesting about astronauts. When they came back from space after spending multiple months in space, they were getting sick. Not like a cold or anything, but viruses that should have been kept in check by their T-cells.

Dr. Krishna Komanduri, is a researcher at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami and he looking into what was causing the flare ups of dormant viruses in astronauts…

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration. Brendan is a native Floridian, born and raised in Broward County. He moved to Central Florida in 2005 to attend the University of Central Florida. He began working at WMFE as a college intern where he discovered his love for public radio.