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Twins Study

Season 1Episode 87Apr 13, 2019

Dr. Andy Feinberg and Dr. Steve Platts discuss the history and details behind the Twins Study. The experts reveal some of the findings from the multi-year endeavor packed with 10 different investigations. HWHAP Episode 87.

Twins Study

Twins Study

“Houston We Have a Podcast” is the official podcast of the NASA Johnson Space Center, the home of human spaceflight, stationed in Houston, Texas. We bring space right to you! On this podcast, you’ll learn from some of the brightest minds of America’s space agency as they discuss topics in engineering, science, technology and more. You’ll hear firsthand from astronauts what it’s like to launch atop a rocket, live in space and re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere. And you’ll listen in to the more human side of space as our guests tell stories of behind-the-scenes moments never heard before.

For Episode 87 Dr. Andy Feinberg and Dr. Steve Platts discuss the history and details behind the Twins Study. The experts reveal some of the findings from the multi-year endeavor packed with 10 different investigations. This episode was recorded on April 1st, 2019.

Check out the Human Research Program for more information about the Twins Study.

Houston, we have a podcast


Gary Jordan (Host): Houston, We Have a Podcast. Welcome to the official podcast of the NASA Johnson Space Center, Episode 87, Twins Study. I’m Gary Jordan and I’ll be your host today. On this podcast, we bring in the experts, NASA scientists, engineers, astronauts, all to let you know the coolest information about what’s going on right here at NASA. So, today we’re talking about one of the more famous studies conducted here at NASA in recent years. It’s called the Twins Study. You may remember from March 2015 to March 2016; now former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly spent a year in space with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko. The One-Year Mission was to investigate just what you think, what happens to the human body during and after a year in microgravity. At the same time, another study was being conducted with Scott Kelly, but this one brought in his twin brother Mark Kelly, also a former NASA astronaut. This investigation, called the Twins Study, examined what happened to both Scott Kelly in space and Mark Kelly on earth during the same period of time. It was a dense study, packed with 10 different investigations, 12 universities, different corporations and government laboratories, all looking at the more subtle changes that may occur within the human body during a long duration space-flight. So, with us to discuss the intricate details and even some of the recently published findings of this investigation is Dr. Andy Feinberg and Dr. Steve Platts. Dr. Feinberg is the principal investigator of one element of the Twins Study looking at epigenetics. We’ll get into what that means in this episode. He’s based at Johns Hopkins University, in the school of medicine. Dr. Platts is based here at the Johnson Space Center as the deputy chief scientist of the human research program. The program that sponsors the whole Twins Study. So, with no further delay, let’s jump right ahead to our talk with Dr. Andy Fienberg and Dr. Steve Platts. Enjoy.

[ Music ]

Host: Steve and Andy, thank you so much for coming on to talk about this Twins Study. There’s a lot of interesting stuff here, and it’s a very dense topic, so I appreciate you both coming on.

Dr. Andy Feinberg: Really glad to do it.

Host: Alright, I think this is such a popular things because it is something that is sort of easy to grasp, right? You hear Twins Study, you know there are twins involved, one person in space, one person on the ground. It’s something that is easy for people to sort of wrap their minds around, and you know, we did this big communications package when it was happening, so it was just something that people just got. But what’s interesting is that the amount of research that’s going into this is so dense and so widespread, and even just talking with Steve just before the podcast even started, he was saying, he showed me a picture of the opening to the article, or to the paper itself.

Dr. Steve Platts: Yep.

Host: And how many authors are a part of this. This is a very dense study.

Dr. Steve Platts: Yep. Huge undertaking.

Host: [Laughs] Very huge. So, before we get into that, before we get into the juicy details, I kind of wanted to pull back and start from the beginning, because I’m sure there is a sort of entrance point to when the Twins Study even started being a topic of possibilities. So, Steve, kick us off; where did this begin?

Dr. Steve Platts: Sure, it’s kind of funny actually. You know, one of our goals is to go to Mars, and to get to Mars and get back home, it’s going to be roughly three years. And so we knew we had to spend more time on the space station, we need more experience with longer duration missions in space. And so, we developed with our Russian counterparts this One-Year Mission program where we had one US astronaut, and one Russian cosmonaut who would do one year in space. And so we were, you know, talking that with people and our former chief scientist, John Charles, was on stage with Scott Kelly one day, and they were talking to an audience. And then on their way off of the podium, Scott turned to John and said, so, you remember that my twin brother is also an astronaut, so what are you going to do about that? And that was sort of the big ah-ha moment. It’s like, wow we have to take advantage of this. And so that began a frenzy of how do we pull together a program, how do we get this stuff going? We did these rapid response grants, we had some people who knew geneticists. Because we wanted it to be a pathfinder study, where we did something we’ve never done before, where we really start to do genetic analysis the right way. And this was our entry into it. And so we pulled it together. We got 10 separate investigator teams, and within each team are some, you know, investigators on their own. In fact, we would call them the Gang of Ten because we have, you know, these powerful ten groups all coming together. They all came to JSC, we had working groups, we had folks decide, okay, I’m going to do this, you’re going to share; the intellectual generosity between the teams was amazing. You know, you hear often for research like this where people are closely guarding their data, and you know, they don’t want to share, they don’t want people to see what they’re doing. And this group was like okay, let’s go, and they’re just sharing all of this. So, it’s just stunning really, the amount of work that we could do in such a short period of time. And, you know, we talk about the One-Year Mission, and the Twins Study was one year, but think about it; we had to start a year before to do data collection, and then we went for almost a year afterwards for data collection. So, it’s really more of a three-year study than a one-year study, and Twins was a major, major part of that project.

Host: Now, that is fascinating that the Twins Study came up even after the One-Year Mission was a thing. Literally pulling John Charles aside and saying hey, there’s a twin involved, you know, that we can do something with this, what are we going to do? And then that’s when really things kicked off. I thought, you know, for sure it would have been something beforehand but, you know, why not? There’s an opportunity here, let’s take advantage of this.

Dr. Steve Platts: Absolutely, yep.

Host: And as you said, let’s bring in all these people, and do the maximum amount of research that we possibly can. So, you said there’s ten different things, and we could totally get into all of that. But I did want to start with, there is a difference, right, between One-Year Mission and Twins Study, they are separate investigations. Same time-frame, but they’re different.

Dr. Steve Platts: Yes. So, really, it’s the Twins Study was tacked onto the One-Year Mission. So, there were other, many other studies going on besides the Twins Study on the One-Year Mission. But the Twins Study was a major part of the science that was done. In fact, just a few kind of quick facts about that One-Year Mission; so, we launched in March of 2015 and landed in March of 2016, not quite a full year, but if you go on to Google you’ll see Commander Kelly up there with a sign that says, you know, 350 days, close enough for government work. So, it was close, but not there. But, think about this, during this One-Year Mission, they travelled 143,846,525 miles. [Laughter] I mean, just amazing, right? And we did over 751 hours of HRP research during the One-Year Mission, and the Twins Study was a large part of that, but as you had said, it wasn’t the entire package.

Host: Right, okay, so those miles traveled is how many laps around the earth?

Dr. Steve Platts: Many, many, many.

Host: Yeah.

Dr. Steve Platts: It’s 5440 orbits.

Host: Oh, you have the number.

Dr. Steve Platts: I do.

Host: Unbelievable.

Dr. Steve Platts: Yep.

Host: Unbelievable. Yeah, that’s, I mean, think about it, what is it, 16 sunrises and sunsets per day every 90 minutes, so that’s going to, that’s going to add up, and a lot of science, a lot of human science, right?

Dr. Steve Platts: Absolutely, yes.

Host: That was, like you said.

Dr. Steve Platts: That was just human research program with the over 750 hours.

Host: Unbelievable.

Dr. Andy Feinberg: I would like to add something to what Steve just said about the nature of how we came together looking at it from the view of an outside scientist if I could. So, what would NASA, from our point of view, so, people, we all have this experience, people would write to us and say, you know, you probably don’t follow the, you know, the NASA news feed, but they have a solicitation to look at these identical twins. And, you know, later we got the backstory about how Scott himself, you know, suggested that there might be something pretty useful to do and then John Charles picked up on this right away. So, we entered this competition because from our point of view we thought that it would be very interesting to look at the fact that these are identical twins, they have the same genome, we’re interested in that, but genetics, I’ll come back to that in just a minute, because I want to just say something about the process. And it would be a really worthwhile and really unique opportunity to ask a question like this. But, regarding what Steve said about the cooperation among the scientists, he’s right. I mean, when we’re out doing a regular science, by definition it’s very competitive. I mean, we’re like nice people and we actually share data and all of that, but you know somebody publishes something before you do, and in general science, right, it’s going to be hard for you to get your data published. The same thing with grants, so you’re always in this forced competition because of limited resources. That is not how any of us approached the NASA work. To us, it was, here is this amazing opportunity to be part of what I think is the greatest science project in the history of mankind, that is turning eventually, started before I was born, and it’s going to end long after I’m gone, and it’s turning human beings from a terrestrial species into an interplanetary species. I’m not saying anything about colonization, I mean, you’re not supposed to say that. But, you know, just in terms of exploration, right?

And, it’s such a large thing that’s bigger than ourselves. And also, it’s this amazing product of our government. I mean, you know, I’m a big fan of government science. I mean, it’s amazing what the federal government can do and in cooperation with other countries to ask really big questions that can’t be asked on a small scale by, you know, private research foundations, or even, really, industry because there’s this fundamental drive for knowledge that’s associated with this kind of research and it’s been incorporated from the very early stage into NASA, this whole idea about human effects, and so forth. So, it’s a privilege for us to do this, and it’s a much larger thing than any one of us. And, I’ll tell you the practical consequence of this is, we had this opening several days where we got, we knew we were getting funded, but we had our organizational meeting where we had to work out the details of the experiments, but then also NASA started out by having this thing, we all got into the auditorium, there were a couple of astronauts that we wound up interacting with that were like watching the whole thing. And they wanted to know, like, okay, how’s, what’s the authorship list? What’s the publication rules? And this whole list of things that you’ll see in big projects, you know, if you’re doing, you know, outside research. And very quickly we said, we’re one group, we’re all in together, whatever is best for the interest of the group is what we’re going to do, when we publish it’s going to be a joint thing from our group. And, let’s get to work now, let’s spend this extra time you allotted for all this politics, which we’re not interested in, and let’s get right down to how we’re going to do these studies. So, what we did, we just worked incredibly closely together to figure out, like, how are you going to get this material? I mean, the amount of blood that you can get from an astronaut in space is very tightly controlled by the operations people, and it’s less blood than you would draw from a child who’s in the hospital. And, I mean, there are a lot of reasons for this, but you know, you have to work within those parameters. And there’re very strict rules in terms of how it can be collected and what was done with it immediately, and so forth. And we had, just like Steve said, many different kinds of investigators. I mean, people studying genetics and epigenetics, but then people studying the chromosomes and people studying the biochemistry, and so, there’s a lot of different things. If you were on the ground doing something like this, you’d have a tube for genetics, you’d have a tube for chromosomes, you’d have a tube for biochemistry, literally. They’re completely different. And chemistry is another one. So, we couldn’t do that. We had to figure out exactly how we do things like, the minimum number of tubes, and the minimum volume, and we spent a lot of time working on that, and not just working that out, which involved experimentation, not the kind of experimentation you’re used to doing, like, you know, okay, we’re going to draw blood, what’s the minimum volume, let’s take it all the through, like on practice samples, we had volunteers who gave us practice specimens. You know, exactly as we would be handling it, short of, like, having it in space itself. And then run it all the way through the analyses, look at different methods, compare what the validity of the experiments are and their consistency. You know, it’s a lot of sort of pedestrian but detailed work that you do, like, sort of from an engineering point of view that would just never be part of a normal biology or medical experiment, but we have to do it in this context. But then, in real time, because we already had such a great working relationship, we got along incredibly well, and I remember, I’ll never forget, there was one of our conference calls, we would have these every week to two depending upon where in the program we were. And, the delivery spacecraft, thank goodness, it didn’t have any astronauts on board, but it was an unmanned delivery spacecraft by one of the commercial carriers that blew up on the way. And, you know, that was really bad news, we’re all really upset about this, it was in the news, you know, but we’re thinking, oh my gosh, what’s going to happen with the experiments. And sure enough, there were supplies, you can’t just send them all up ahead of time, because of weight. So, there were supplies, and tubes and so forth, and I just remember all sitting around on the phone and you know, who needs this tube more than somebody else on this particular day? In this case, I didn’t really need it as much as Emmanuel Mignot needed it because he needed a tube for the second part of his immune vaccine response thing. And it, if we had our tube he couldn’t do that. And I said, you know, this one’s for you, we will get by without that time point. He would have done exactly the same thing if the tables were turned. But that’s what I mean, I mean NASA thinks like this, we all got to participate in this wonderful cooperative venture, and it’s all, a lot of this is just opaque to the astronauts. I mean, they have to focus on what they have to do. But these dedicated people on the ground, the mission’s operations people, the people in the HRP, you know, the administrative people, all the logistical people, I mean they knocked themselves out. I know the astronauts get the fame, they deserve it, we’re glad of it, but I hope that people who are listening realize like how much hard work is done behind the scenes by NASA people who makes all this possible. So, I just wanted to communicate that. It really is a different kind of experience working with NASA.

Host: Yeah, and Steve, to Andy’s point, I mean, this is, not only is the research itself very expansive, and you said this was coming from after the One-Year Mission, you know, let’s get together and think about what we could do with this Twins Study, but it is this giant collaborative effort. So, where did you start? You got this idea, okay, there are these two twins we can work with, Scott Kelly and Mark Kelly, and we can go into a little bit about who they are, just to add a little bit more context, but where do you start saying, you know, who do we reach out to? Who would be interested in this type of science?

Dr. Steve Platts: Well, we did rapid solicitation. And, Andy said they saw this solicitation and said hey, that’s something that we’re interested in. And, that’s how the whole team was formed. And we had, you know, a lot of people had contacts and said hey, make sure you see this, because this is the kind of thing you’d be interested in. And so, usually it takes a year and a half plus from when we solicit for a grant proposal to when we could actually start the work. And I think that we did this in under nine months.

Host: Wow.

Dr. Steve Platts: And had everything going. We had the investigators working group that Andy was talking about when we brought everyone in, and we thought we were going to have to have this long conversation about authorship and everything and everyone was like yeah, whatever, okay what do we need to do? And one of the other things that, when Andy was talking, I was thinking of is, and you don’t think about this when you do science on the ground, but when you do science in space, you really have to think about it. We didn’t have a tube on the space station that could do what we needed to be done. And so we had to flight certify a whole new tube. So, Andy was saying that they had to do some like, pre-research on the ground before, they had to figure out if this tube was going to work. Right? And if it would work for all the parties involved. So, just those kind of things that you don’t think about when you’re doing research on the space station, that’s 220-ish plus miles above the earth, traveling at 17,500 miles an hour, with limited power, limited mass, all of these things you have to consider that a lot of scientists here on earth don’t have to deal with, and all of these folks not only dealt with it, but made it a huge success.

Dr. Andy Feinberg: Yeah, let me say something.

Dr. Steve Platts: Sure.

Dr. Andy Feinberg: Let me jump in. My, you know, about the tubes, because it’s a really great story and I think people will enjoy it. So, you know one of the nice things about this thing is I actually got to do some of this stuff back in the lab. So I’m like in there myself, because we’re talking about like, sort of, you know, fashion science, that actually got so fancy that I understand it, but I don’t normally, you know, do the manipulations of the genomic libraries, we have specialists for that. But here, we’re talking about like tubes and spinning blood through it, and like matching the gravitational conditions that, you know, the centrifuges that they have, which is some old, half-broken thing by the way. It’s been up there for like ten years.

Dr. Steve Platts: We have a new one, though. We have a new one. [ Laughter ] Not in time for your study, but yeah. We have it.

Dr. Andy Feinberg: So you know, so we’re working this out, but then there’s this critical issue that come up right away, and it has to do with when you’re doing epigenetics research, I do have to get a little ahead and talk about what that is for a minute. So, epigenetics, this is why the twins are really interesting, so epigenetics has to do with information that’s in the cell that’s remembered when the cell divides other than the DNA sequence itself. So, what’s that mean? That means things like DNA methylation which is a chemical change in one of those four nucleotides, the, it’s the cytosine, you know like Gattaca, the c in Gattaca, that’s cytosine, and it is something that turns genes on and off. That’s one of the things, but that’s the one that we focused on. And what that’s responsible for is it tells you what your cells do, so like, as the DNA sequences like the words like in the alphabet, the epigenetic information is the grammar. And that’s the reason why your stomach is different than your eyeball. I mean, they have the same DNA sequence in them, but they’re obviously really very different, and that has to do with specialized functions. It also is something that’s effected by the environment, which is the question of the day, you’re going into space flight, so, you know, that’s going to be a different environment. So, if you have identical twins, you know, sure, there were people that were looking for genetic damage, but generally the genome will be the same, in fact that’s what it was. So, what the differences might be that would have information content and tell cells to have a different function, would be epigenetic information, and you, the ideal way to do that is to have an identical twin on the ground, and another one in space.

But, here’s the problem. Just, I just said that each of those different cell types has a different epigenetic pattern, or different methylation pattern. If you just draw blood from somebody, you have a whole mixture of cell types, and even if you can separate out the, what are called the peripheral blood mononuclear cells, which include, like the b-cells, you’ve heard off, t-cells, monocytes, things like that. There’s so many cell types that are among those. That, the tube is something that has a built-in membrane, so it could separate out those if he just drew the blood and then took that tube, just as it is, put it in a centrifuge, spun it round. You’d get those peripheral blood mononuclear cells. But we had to test to see whether or not we could actually fractionate out the subtypes of cells, and you have to do this if you’re going to look at epigenetic information. So, we were looking at, like, what are called CD4 cells, CD8 cells, CD19 cells, things like that. These are like differences between, you know, the sort of different kinds of t-cells and b-cells, and so forth. So, they’re very different in their normal methylation pattern. And we had to compare that to what if you just took fresh samples and looked at them? And the answer is, you lose that information. You cannot freeze these cells and then separate out the individual cell types later. So, the validity of these experiments would have been lost, at least for what we do. I mean, not for other things, there were other kinds of analyses people could do. But, for looking at DNA methylation for the high-resolution that we wanted to do, would not be possible. So, what we suggested, and I remember, we had a conversation, Kate Rubins was one of the astronauts in the room. So, I remember standing there; there was Kate, and me, and one of the other investigators, I can’t remember if it was Mike Snyder or Chris Mason, and then Clarence Sams, who’s this brilliant engineer who’s in charge of deciding like what blood can get drawn, and what the operational conditionals are going to be. So, I mean, he sees the big picture. So, he’s a scientist, he’s a senior scientist at NASA. So, I remember our talk about this, I said, well, you know, Dr. Sams, I mean I think what we have to do is we have to let the astronauts pipette out the material in a glove box after it’s been spun through the tube, and then they can combine it with this like antibody, we’ve done this a million times, they’ll be able to separate that out, and if they can’t do that, then at least what we would like them to do is take out those cells, wash them once, and then combine them with some glycerol, which is an okay way to preserve cells, it’s not the ideal way, there’s another chemical that you can’t put on the space station, but they use glycerol, so it’s should be fine. And then, they could freeze it, and then we could look at it later. And he said, you’ve got to be kidding. You know, like, this whole study has been, like, bootstrapped onto something, you know, we’ve planned these things like three-years ahead. This whole things been added on, we can’t, like, put a whole procedure through certification, so that’s completely out of the question. So, we said, well then you know, if we want to get this work done, then we’re going to have to get Ambien samples, which means that the blood for our studies would have to be drawn on the day that a Soyuz is coming to earth, and that’s what would happen.

So, there would be blood drawn, Scott would draw it himself, centrifuge it in that device, package it the way that we did, we had like these tubes, like pre-wrapped with some plastic in case they fractured, no glass would come loose, but also, we wouldn’t lose the blood either. And then they would be loaded in the appropriate container, and sent by rocket ship to Kazakhstan, [laughs] and then a Leer jet would fly this and, I guess an astronaut, too, because they need to go home. I think it was always an astronaut going down and always an astronaut going up. And then they would be driven by Jeep, they had a Jeep ride, and then they converted one of the labs, the one that was used to store the lunar rocks, and they converted that, a part of that building into a lab for us and equipped with the facilities we needed. And we would have pre-positioned one of the scientists from our group, at one point, the scientist who was down there processing that was my son Jason, who’s a scientist and he works with a collaborator mine, and he has special expertise in this purification. So, he was the right guy to do it, he’s on the paper, too. And so, they would purify this stuff through the night, freeze it in the proper way, and then we’d show that would could isolate those materials in the way that we want.

Anyway, so getting back to this, I just kept nudging NASA about, you know, we want to show that it’s not such a big deal to do this pipetting in space. They thought, well, you know, the materials going to get loose, the blood’s going to float free, maybe it will hit the start button, and they’ll be off to Mars prematurely or something. Who knows, right? But, I understand their point of view, but from my point of view it just seemed like it’s not that difficult. But, you know, this is, we have to follow those rules. So, I kept bugging them and then I get a call one day and they say, hey, guess what, if you can do this right away, we’re going to rush through a review process for your doing this veryt testing on the Vomit Comet. So, that’s that aircraft, transport plane that they modified for parabolic flight. So, my post-doc Lindsay Rizzardi and I spent a week doing parabolic flights, so we would be, we’d have these evolutions of weightlessness, and that’s when we would do our experiments. So, we’d be pulling 2 point something g’s, and then we’d be at total zero g’s, and then we would be handling the material in the glove box. What was really fantastic is that Kate Rubins was there on the first day, independently. She decided this is really an idea worth pursuing, and she threw her [inaudible] on it. She’s the astronaut obviously, worked out and with another scientist, Brian Crucian, and so we wound up all just collaborating together. Brian was on this thing, too. So, Kate, and Lindsay, and Brian and I, and Clarence, too. We wound up showing how this is done, it actually turns out to be very easy. It’s easier if you have the right tips to pipette liquids in zero gravity than it is on earth, because of the surface tension. We noticed it’s difficult to keep the pipette tips in place, they tend to float away, so they’ll have to come up with another box to store them, it was sort of amusing how they sort of came released in the glove box. I think NASA was right to be worried, but not because of the blood, because of the tips. But we showed how it could be done, and we even did some of the first sequencing using a little, these mini-sequencers now, that was done in the Vomit Comet. And then we continued to collaborate with Kate during her mission, on her free time she continued to do sequencing and operations with DNA, using materials that are approved by NASA for sort of ordinary use, so instead of bringing like a private kit up of supplied from her husband, Jeff, would send up to her, like pipettes and tips and things like that. And so, you know, we still maintain that interaction, because we think in the long-run the astronauts are really going to be doing this, and then at the right point, NASA will go through the certification process for this kind of work. So, it turned out to be, it’s like you know, it’s like with NASA, you know you have to follow the procedure, but, you know, if you could figure out how to do something, they’ll work with you to get it done.

Host: Yeah. And what’s interesting about this, is this for the, you know, the epigenetics part of things, you had to have these special tools, these special techniques, and this is just one element of what, Steve, you were saying was these ten different elements of these four categories. I mean, this is just a lot of, a lot of material, a lot of information going into this Twins Study, and this is just one part of it that needs to be collaborated as part of this larger idea. If you can, actually, Steve, go over some of the other parts. You know, this was just, these tubes story was for the epigenetics part and, there’s certain things that are required just to get that science, what about the other science, what else are we looking at?

Dr. Steve Platts: Well, we had folks looking at biochemistry, right? So, just the normal, everyday bio markers and things in your blood, saliva, urine, that we study all the time, already. But, again, in a One-Year Mission, and then, again, when you have twins, that adds a whole, another layer to it. We had a group looking at more physiology type stuff, and so they were, they did a lot of cardiovascular physiology, looking at oxidative stress and those kind of things. And different proteins. We had a group looking at the micro-biome. So, this is, actually, a lot of the listeners might be familiar, it’s in the press all the time now, micro-biome. I even saw it on TV, there was an advertisement for some soap product, and they were talking about it’s so gentle it doesn’t disturb your micro-biome. [Laughs]. Okay, but what is micro-biome, right? So, imagine everything that’s most of the cells in your body are not your cells, right? They are bacteria, they’re fungi, they’re other things. They’re inside you, they’re outside you, they’re all over you. And they contribute to your health and well-being. They’re actually part of you. And so, how does that change when you go into space? You can imagine you have six people in a tiny, little, confined environment and how eating the same foods, you know, being in close proximity, doing all those kind of things, might shift how your gut is behaving, and how the things on your skin are. So, we had a whole study looking at things like that. Immunology, he mentioned Brian Crucian, who’s one of our immunologists at JSC. And so, he did a whole study on immunology and we had an investigator who looked at the flu vaccine. And, so, does your immune system work the same in space? So, if I got a vaccine in space, is it going to work the same way?

Turns out, yeah, it does, it works just the same way. So, very exciting there. And, cognition. So, we had a group looking at how your brain works, right? So, how, we hear all the time when we talk to astronauts that they get the space fuzzies, right? They kind of get this fuzziness, blurriness doing things in space, and what is that form? Is that from the fluid shift? Is that, you know, from, they often don’t eat enough calories and so they tend to lose weight. Is that part of it? And so we had a study up there for this mission also, looking at the cognitive ability, so not just can you remember things, but the speed and the accuracy and those kind of things. So, if you’re thinking about, so now we’re looking at genetics, genomics, epigenetics, micro-biome, biochemistry, immunology, physiology. I mean, we have everything, right? And so, really, this is the first time we have had an integrated study like this where we can look at the whole gamut. We can look at what’s going on with DNA, we can look at what’s going on with RNA. We can look what’s going on with the whole organ, the whole body, the mind, all of that connected. So, it’s, I mean, just you know, very exciting.

Host: Now, along the points of executing this science, you know, Andy was talking about these specific tubes, and these specific techniques that need to be practiced to make sure that the science was good for his particular part, which was epigenetics. And I’m sure that every scientist has their needs.

Dr. Steve Platts: Oh, yes.

Host: You know, they have their, what do they want to study? They have particular tubes or whatever they may have, that is necessary for their science. How do you fit that into a year? How do you allot that into a crewmember’s time making sure that all of this can be addressed and executed over the course of a year?

Dr. Steve Platts: Very carefully. [Laughter]. So, we actually have an element within HRP called ISSMP, it’s the ISS Medical Project, and that’s what they do. They work on the experiments, and they’re the folks who are talking to Andy about tubes and processes, how do you do this? And they coordinated each individual experiment into a larger experiment. They work with the schedulers for the astronauts. They work with the ISS program, so this team, that’s what they’re designed for, that’s what they do every day for every experiment we ever do. So, for them, this wasn’t all that unusual, it was a lot in one big lump, but it was sort of business as usual. Okay, so we have this experiment, they want to draw out 20 mils of blood. How do we do that? Okay, we know they want them on these days, okay. Can we do those days? Oh, we can’t do this day, because there’s an EVA on that day, or a space-walk. So, then they figure out how to move it. So, all of those intricacies, and we call it project implementation, right? And so that’s what these folks do, and they do a tremendous job. And so they were put on the spot to do this and all the other One-Year Mission stuff. And then, the other crew members we had on board doing the regular science.

Host: Right.

Dr. Steve Platts: Right? All of that was going on all at the same time. We had a few people who didn’t sleep very much for a while, you know. They were working really hard, but I think it’s a testament to the whole group as Andy said, that it went off as well as it did.

Dr. Andy Feinberg: Yeah, and just a minor thing, but they have to figure out the weight of everything we use.

Dr. Steve Platts: Mm-hmm

Dr. Andy Feinberg: And also the power drain, you know, for every procedure and how that matches up with other things they’re doing. So, because you know, it’s a finite thing and it has to keep everybody, you know, healthy, and have all their other mission critical things running. So, it’s incredibly complicated.

Host: And this is sort of adding to your point, Steve, that this is not just a one-year thing, there’s a lot of planning that goes beforehand, there’s a lot of research that goes beforehand, and you even said, even after the One-Year Mission was done, you know, you were still doing research. There was still a data gathering period.

Dr. Steve Platts: Absolutely, yes. So, when, so if things change, when do they come back? If they come back to normal. That’s critical for us.

Host: Right.

Dr. Steve Platts: Because our astronauts have to live when they come home. And so we want to know if something changes, how long does it take to come back to normal? So, that’s part of the process. We have different time points after flight so that we can follow up and make sure that the crew are healthy.

Host: Yeah, so, Andy, you could probably go into a little bit more detail here, but just especially from an epigenetic standpoint, just exactly what is the most interesting part about having, and you could probably address this more, identical twins, you know, in space and on the ground. What exactly is interesting about that, and what was the execution on your end to look at this?

Dr. Andy Feinberg: Okay, well, so first the headline news from the analysis of their epigenetic information is that there was nothing that changed in Scott over the course of a year that was out of the range of the variation that we see in Mark. So, in other words, in terms of like, is space causing some overall change to their epigenetic information that we measure, of course we’re just measuring methylation, but is there anything about that that’s out of kilter, sort of on a large-scale way with what you’d see in Mark, and the answer to that is no. But, I was surprised to find that there was a fairly striking degree of variation over the course of a year, both of them. So, people have followed things like gene expression, like the activity of genes over long periods of time in these, you know, these studies where they kind of sample you at regular intervals. Mike Snyder’s done that kind of work, actually on himself, over the course of a year. But, well, I don’t, to my knowledge, nobody’s done this at the level of DNA methylation, at least with this kind of comprehensive analysis across the genome, purifying the individual cell types, and it really does vary by several percent. Nothing out of the normal range, but I was surprised by that. And, what we saw was that, overall, levels of DNA methylation across all the genes, I mean there’s, you know, thousands and thousands of genes in the genome, there’s an argument over the exact number, but it’s at least 17,000 genes probably less than 25,000 depending upon what you call a gene. But there’s, there’s a several percent change in DNA methylation in a couple of the different cell types that we looked at. Not necessarily in the same direction, either. And, but Mark showed similar changes in overall levels of DNA methylation across his genome. So, it was specific to Scott. And I think this gets to another point that Scott raised when he was, on one of the podcasts, when he was being interviewed initially about this whole idea, is that the n, what we call the n, the number of, the real number sort of experimental replicates, is one, we have one twin pair. So, just Scott and Mark. When I wrote our proposal, I suggested that we also get samples from additional astronauts who were in space. That would enable us to determine whether anything that we saw in Scott was, if it was different than Mark is that something that is reproduced in other astronauts. So, we want to increase that n to like two, or three, or four, or whatever. NASA said we couldn’t do it because remember what Steve said at the beginning; this was an add-on special project. So, there wasn’t the capacity to then go expand that to other astronauts and the whole consent process, and so forth. That all had to get worked out. It’s very complicated, how to deal with what could be, like, you know, personal medical information and all of that, right? So, they couldn’t do that. So, you cannot say that what we observe is caused, at a global level, is caused by space flight. It could just be random chance, just on the face of it, looking at the total levels of methylation. It could be some other aspect of the environment. Maybe not microgravity, it could be the food that they eat, right? They were eating this like package stuff that, you know, in the 1960s and 1970s, you know, looked really cool. You know, Tang through a straw and like some kind of like, you know, apparently, it’s tasty, they didn’t let me taste any, but you know, sort of mushed up stuff in a plastic freeze-dried bag. I mean, you know, it’s different. And one other big difference between Mark and Scott is that Mark can have alcohol when he’s on the ground, and it’s absolutely forbidden on the space station. Because even the most miniscule vapors that come from alcohol are bad for some of the equipment that they use in environmental control. And I don’t think that’s fully understood why that is, but it is certainly an absolute proscription. So, there are some, and that’s a pretty significant potential epigenetic modifier, too. So, you know, they’re well within their range. Now, that said though, we did a different kind of analysis, a serial analysis, where we’re looking at serial — like S-E-R-I-A-L, I was just talking about food, it’s not the other kind.

Dr. Steve Platts: Oh, I thought you were talking about Captain Crunch.

Host: Yeah, I was getting hungry. [Laughter].

Dr. Andy Feinberg: No, but it’s a sequential, you know, analysis. So, we then also asked, well what is consistent in terms of DNA methylation before he goes into space, then changes as he goes into space, and then when he comes back to normal, returns to the baseline, are there things like that? And we did find differences in Scott. And then you can ask, well, are they, did these genes fall into certain categories? And indeed, they did. They fell into gene categories that are related to either inflammation, or stress. And, those two things are highly, what we call convoluted in science. In other words I mean, things that are related, inflammation, are also related to stress and vice versa. So, there was something that looked like that, and we didn’t see those changes in Mark over that time course.

Now, because, still it’s an n of one, we can’t say that this related to space flight. That’s just not, you know, not until it’s verified. But it’s awfully tantalizing. And the other thing that was consistent with that is that the people who were looking at gene expression, they say changes in gene expression that fell into those same categories, too. So, there does seem to be something related to an increased stress response in space that, after he comes back to earth over, you know, by several months later, that that goes back to baseline. And if I said normal before, I used the wrong word, I really should say baseline. And the reason is that even these changes are within the range of what we would say for people who are on earth that were exposed to stressful situations, like, for example an infection. Like, getting the flu, or getting some other infection. You’ll get changes like this. And I don’t know about methylation, but it’s certainly in gene expression. You’ll see changes like this, too. So, it’s not like it’s some space special thing, but it appears, again, with the n of one caveat, it appears that there really is something going on in terms of stress response in space, and what they need to do now, I would hope it would be we, that I’d love to participate in this, but we’ll see, but what has to be done next is to repeat these observations on additional astronauts. And then I want to touch on something that you actually mentioned, I think at the beginning in your introduction, that’s as we’re thinking about going to Mars, and we’re going to be trying to understand what happens when you go out for you know three years in space, is it possible for us to project from what the experience is in in a three month space flight, in a six month space flight, in a one year space flight, if we can project how to tell about time dependent trends that occur. Than we then make a projection into what’s going to happen when you’re three years out. Because if you can do that, you might be able to identify, it’s a kind of like personalized preventative medicine, or just medical care for astronauts who are going to go as a group, or maybe even individually. We’re going to go on really long-term missions, including for example, like have the right supplies for things that happen when they’re, you know, when they’re traveling into space.

And I think the most exciting thing that coming to your real answer now, the most exciting aspect, I think, of our study, is that it was the dawn of the genomic era of space. So, we really did work out the methods, both in terms of the mechanics of how you do these experiments, how you do this kind of analysis on very small amounts of material, how you can coordinate with different kinds of investigators, and also how you analyze the data. I mean, we did some real work in trying to figure out like, longitudinally, how do you analyze people’s data, serially over time, and compare that to pre-flight and post-flight, a lot of the methods that we worked out could be used to extrapolate to longer distance space flights, and I think that will help to answer that question as they go out, you know, for longer duration missions. And while we didn’t do any sequencing on this flight, some of the preparative stuff did lead to some sequencing, and Kate’s already done that. Not, as an official, you know, actually, I think there are some sequencing projects that were part of the last mission, but that’s getting incorporated, too.

So I think that as people go to Mars, they’re going to need to be, fairly autonomous of NASA. I mean, for one thing, you know, as you could see from the movie The Martian, which I think has a lot of the details right, you can have a conversation where the response might take 20 minutes to get back. And, certainly not going to be able to ship extra materials to people and so forth. So, they’re going to have to be autonomous in a lot of ways. One of them is they’re going to be, they’re going to need to be autonomous in terms of evaluating their health status. And part of doing that is measuring the genome, the epigenome gene expression. And also, just bacterial things. So, you know, you can, it’s probably not going to be a great idea to have an incubator full of pathogens that are in the space craft because you need positive controls for doing assays for drug resistance. I don’t think you’re really going to want to have dangerous organisms there that you can compare. Somebody gets an infection, the response to that infection, you know, and to this drug or that drug, but the positive control, you know, of the actual bad thing; might be a lot better idea to take your little specimen and sequence it and know exactly what’s in there. And you already have on hand the medicines you can use. But it isn’t just that, I mean there are other disorders that might be difficult to diagnose where ancillary methods, if you take the whole ten studies as an aggregate would be very helpful. So, working that out, and then figuring out how to project what’s going to happen to astronauts on long-term space flight I think would be really helpful, and I think that this study was the study that opened the door to that.

Host: Yeah. There’s definitely a lot to this study. And to your point, man, would it be nice to increase that n to like, a thousand, I don’t know. You guys probably know this more than me, being scientists, but man, it would be nice to get more of those studies, but this is an opportunity in and of itself. To explore that more would be absolutely fantastic. But, Steve, you know, Andy was going into some of the things that, especially in the epigenetics world, what are we finding from this study? We’re starting to get some of these data back, and understand what was happening even with this n of one, you understand a little bit what was happening in all these different areas, so what else, besides epigenetics, what else is happening in the Twins Study world?

Dr. Steve Platts: Well, just to pick up on one thing that Andy said.

Host: Sure.

Dr. Steve Platts: And one of the things that I think is beautiful about this study is he said that the markers that he was looking at were showing stress and inflammation. And if you look at all the biochemistry, and physiology, and pharmacology we’ve been doing for years, the main things that we see are inflammation, and the same types of things, the stress, that Andy’s talking about. And we have multiple studies looking at those exact things. So, even though it’s new, it’s reinforcing things that we already know, right? So, I mean that’s one of the beautiful things about how they link up. As far as some of the other things they did, so, one of the groups looked at cardiovascular responses. And so they looked at the carotid artery in the neck. And it’s known that if you measure the thickness of the wall of that blood vessel, that relates to overall cardiovascular health. And it’s used here on earth, we actually use it at NASA as a technique to look at the astronauts and see how things are going. And they showed that in space for the twins, Scott has an increased thickening in that carotid artery. And so, oh, that’s interesting, right? What does that mean? And now when they only got to do a four-day return, right, so they didn’t get to do long-term to see how long it took to recover. On earth, we know what that means, in space we have no idea what that means, right? Something that happens that mimics a pathology, but then either comes back to normal or something that in space, our mind automatically goes to, well it must be the same, right? It must be a pathology, right? But that’s not necessarily true. So, we don’t really know. We know that changes, we know that vessel will get thicker, and in other investigators, not in the Twins Study, but in other space flight studies have shown that those same vessels also get stiffer. Ah, now stiffness, that can relate to blood pressure control, and we know that astronauts have issues with blood pressure control when they come back from space, especially long duration. So it’s starting to help us kind of link more and more of these chains together to figure out the big picture of what’s going on. I mentioned earlier the immunology, where they gave the flu vaccine, and they showed that the vaccine makes the body respond in exactly the same way in space as it does on the ground, which is very, very interesting as well. And so, you know, just a lot of different things. Cognition, that study was kind of mixed. They showed that there weren’t changes in a lot of it, but there was one assay where they showed a decrease in accuracy of some of the responses. And again, what the long term follow up is, we’re still working on those kind of things. So, just lots of really interesting things. Andy, I wonder if you’d be able to say just a few words about the telomeres, because I think that’s really exciting, but I’m not technically proficient in describing that. So I wonder if you could describe that?

Dr. Andy Feinberg: Yeah, sure. So, that wasn’t our, you know, our part of the study, but they found an increase in telomere length for Scott during space flight compared to Mark. And it was observed over, I think, all eleven in-flight time points in which they measured it. And they did this in number of different ways. Their data are really solid. And then that also came back, I’m pretty sure, it came back to either the same level it was before or close to it, after space flight. And so, I mean that’s an interesting observation, because telomeres are the ends of chromosomes, and the length has been associated with, you know, disease states and with aging, and so forth. So, again, this is an n of one, you have to always keep in mind that, you know, you have to look at what you would see in other individuals. You have to repeat it. But it shows that it’s something worth looking at, just like the stress factors are.

Host: So, you understand–

Dr. Andy Feinberg: By the way, I want to just mention, we did see methylation changes, and there were also gene expression changes consistent with this observation. So that was another reason why this multi-modality study is useful, because at least you know the technical observations are really probably right. It’s probably not a measurement error, or a method error, if you’re seeing by completely different kinds of measurements data that are consistent with one another. So, I think there’s no question that his telomeres changed length. The question is whether or not another astronaut you would see that, or to what degree you would see that, and then what you could relate that too specifically in the environment. And none of these things can be answered, but certainly raises a good question.

Host: So, is the idea, you understand what happened in this particular case, but how does this apply to the grander, you know, space flight. What does that mean when an astronaut is going to land on a different planet? Like, those are the sorts of things that you could take this data and apply it to future space flight and help you understand what you need to do.

Dr. Steve Platts: Yeah, I think Andy hit the nail on the head earlier when he said this is really telling us how to do it.

Host: Right.

Dr. Steve Platts: Right? I call it a pathfinder mission, because really this is the first time we ever tried to do, you know, real genetics in space. And, this study taught us how to do it. And for the future, I mean, it just opened up everything for the future. Now, we have astronauts who were never ever interested in doing anything genetic, you can imagine how some folks might be trepidations about doing genetic studies, right? Having their genome potentially out there, the loss of privacy, that could mean, although we’re extremely careful about that. But now we have astronauts coming up to us, asking us about genetic studies and what are we doing next, and how can we do this? So, this study, just beyond the scientific advances it’s going to help us make, the technological and the philosophical advances it’s going to help NASA make, we can’t even figure out what those are just yet. I think they’re going to be tremendous.

Host: Yeah.

Dr. Andy Feinberg: Yeah, if I could add a little to that, sort of bring it home. So, the really big issues that are going to face them that we haven’t addressed in terms of like genomic integrity are, well what happens if there’s an exposure on the space craft to something? And, so we don’t know what, right? So, there could be like a solar flare, there could be some environmental contaminant on the space craft, whatever. There needs to be a mechanism to sort of robustly, and without having to do 2-3 years of planning, have a mechanism for them to be able to assess that. I mean, what I’m talking about when they travel to Mars. So, you know, there can be some evaluation of the effects of things without knowing in advance what they might be. So, I think you need to have some kind of laboratory capability, simple laboratory capability. And nowadays you can have things that are so modular and so small that I don’t think it’s asking a lot to do that. These guys are incredibly dedicated, they learn really well, they actually physically have great dexterity, and they’re very curious, and they’re like you know, either engineers already, or they have an engineering mind. And I say guys and women, I mean, actually it’s one of the really interesting things of the study by the way is that, you know, there are these changes in the shape of the eye, and there’re changes in the retina that are associated with visual problems. But the women don’t get this, right? So, they’re like, it’s just not going to happen in the women. So, I think it’s very important to include men and women in these analyses in a robust way, too. But the really big thing that’s different about what happens when they go to Mars is the radiation. It’s much greater. I mean, the amount of radiation that Scott got exposed to was sort of like four PET scans, something like that, over the course of a year. Not out of line, like within an order of magnitude of what airline pilots get. Why? Because they’re inside the Van Allen Belt. I mean, they’re in low-earth orbit. It’s more radiation than we get down here, but not that much more. But, when they go to Mars, they’re not going to have that shielding, and there’s this, not only more radiation, but this high energy radiation, a cosmic radiation, which are these, you know, heavy metal nuclei that are very damaging when they hit. I mean, they have to hit the DNA. And we don’t know anything about that, because people haven’t been there. Steve probably knows this, what the actual number is, but we haven’t had very many human beings outside of the Earth’s protective field. Just the people who went to the moon. Either circled it or landed there. So, I don’t know what is, a couple of weeks or something like that is the longest exposure.

Host: Yeah very short.

Dr. Steve Platts: Yeah.

Dr. Andy Feinberg: Yeah. So, that’s a big question. So, if they’re going to be sending people out, like to the moon, you know, for, you know, to the lunar orbit or–

Dr. Steve Platts: Yeah, the Gateway that we’re building.

Dr. Andy Feinberg: Or some period of time. That’s when you can answer that question. And so, you know, I don’t know if NASA’s decided what they’re going to do, but I think there’s a really good, there’s a really important part for doing these kinds of measures, doing this all over again really when astronauts are going to be either on the Moon or at one of the, I think they’re called the La Grange points, where they have a sort of a stable orbit, for some period of time, actually. And then you can collect a symmetry, you can understand what kinds of radiation exposure there were, and you can ask these questions. I think we’re going to get different answers then, because I think the radiation’s going to be more substantial, and I think that’s their biggest threat. And I was on a panel with the National Academy of Sciences that also identified for the HRP, you know, this is one of the things that is a particularly high priority issue for which we don’t really have that kind of information.

Dr. Steve Platts: And we are working on exactly those things right now with the Gateway program that’s spinning up, and we are going to put a station orbiting the moon. And the first thing we told them we have on board is bio-dissymmetry. So, we’re absolutely right with you that, we’re thinking about that radiation and we have an element that all they study is space radiation and so, we’re looking at that intensely.

Host: It’s very fitting all the research that’s going into this Twins Study, you can take a lot of it and expand that knowledge.

Dr. Steve Platts: Absolutely.

Host: You can just keep learning, keep more and more in science. Always great.

Dr. Andy Feinberg: And by the way, I got stumbled up there on my words, but just for your listeners out there, Mars is something like 50 to 400 million kilometers, something like that I think, from Earth depending upon when you’re looking. Something like that, right?

Host: Yeah.

Dr. Andy Feinberg: But the Moon, the Moon is only something like a couple hundred thousand miles away, and so, you know, getting back and forth is not that difficult, especially if you don’t actually land. So, I think, this issue about genomic integrity, it’s one of the major reasons I think to gather more data that’s closer to earth. If something does happen to somebody, you can send them back, they need something, you can send it out there. It’s not that impossible to do.

Host: Yeah, there’s still, there’s definitely a lot more science that we need to do to really understand how to go further and further. And Andy, too, to your point, you know, Mars is just a couple more steps beyond the Moon. So, it’s going to be, it’s going to be a challenge just to get there. You’re talking about a few days of a mission there and back versus months. Even, I guess years, expanding past a year to get there and back. At the very least. But guys, I know we’re past our hour here, and I have so many more questions, but I know that with the recent release of some of these findings you can go, I’ll talk about a website at the very end of the podcast here where people can go and check out some of the other great findings that we have as part of this Twins Study. But I really just wanted to take this time to thank you both for taking the time to come and talk with us on the podcast and get this great information out. This is just, I think really a taste of all there is to the Twins Study. And it sounds like there’s a lot more science that we need to do to fully understand all of these different elements. So, really guys, I appreciate your time, thank you.

Dr. Steve Platts: Oh, you’re very welcome.

Dr. Andy Feinberg: It was wonderful talking to you, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

[ Music ]

Host: Hey, thanks for sticking around. So, today we got a chance to talk to Dr. Andy Feinberg and Dr. Steve Platts, going into the intricate details of all these elements of the Twins Study. Now, we really only got to address a little bit of it. Again, this is a very dense study, lots of different investigations. And we just recently published some of the findings. So if you go to — that’s Twins dash Study — you can list, first of all, what is the Twins Study, but then you can actually see some of the recently published findings and really go into the intricate details of what some of the research that was done over these past few years.

Otherwise, in terms of the human research program, we have worked with them before. You can go to to look at some of the human research. Otherwise, we’ve done a five-series, or a Five Hazards of Human Space Flight Series with the Human Research Program. We got to talk to even one of the investigators that were part of the Twins Study here, Dr. Crucian, Dr. Brian Crucian. We got to talk to him about immunology, you can listen to one of those episodes there. Of course, all of this research is being done aboard the International Space Station, to find out what’s happening there. And Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, all of the different accounts that we have, the Johnson Space Center accounts, and of course, the International Space Station to figure out what’s going on. So, this episode was recorded on April 1st, 2019. Thanks to Alex Perryman, Norah Moran, Pat Ryan, and Shaneequa Vereen. Thanks again to our Twins Study experts, Dr. Andy Feinberg, and Dr. Steve Platts for coming on the show.

So, if you are sticking with us right now, thank you for listening to this entire episode, and you’re in for a very special treat. Because next week we kick off a four-part series on a very unique story. So, with me is Pat Ryan, producer of the podcast to tell us more. Thanks for joining me, Pat.

Pat Ryan: Hey kids.

Host: [Laughs]. So, what exactly Pat are we in for for this four-part series? What’s it all about?

Pat Ryan: Last year I discovered that there had been a project going on in another part of the production facility, that I wasn’t involved in at all. But one of my colleagues here told the story and it struck me as almost like a mystery story. The more he kept telling I’d go, what? We did what? How did we do that? And I said that needs to be a podcast. So, Greg Wiseman and I resolved to try to produce this story for the podcast, and we did it by doing podcast interviews with a lot of the people who were involved, but then cutting them together so that the story is told from all of their different perspectives, their different points of view, and we mixed in music and sound effects, and we also mixed in Mission Control room conversations from Apollo 11, the first landing on the Moon. That’s what the whole thing is about, rescuing the sounds of the people who worked here at the Manned Space Craft Center in Houston in 1969 to make sure that Apollo 11 went off successfully.

Host: And this is a little bit different from our normal podcast. Obviously, if you’ve been listening to us, it’s, really, we just sit down with a guest and talk face to face for, and go really into a topic, but this is a little different in the way we structured this podcast.

Pat Ryan: The story could have been told by talking to any one of several people, and that would have been fine, but I thought that there were enough different people involved in it, from different angles, that it would be worth talking to them all. And we did and then what we put together is a condensed version of those interviews, with some narration to hold all the pieces together, to tell it over a broader sense. And to tell it in a little different way, mostly because we can.

Host: And I really hope you guys enjoy it. Next week we’re going to kick it off. It’s, the title is the Heroes Behind the Heroes, and there’s a very great story as to why it’s titled that. It kicks off next week, with part one, and there’s again, four parts to this story, and we’re going to go into the intricate details really of what it took to rescue these tapes. Pat, thank you for coming on, and talking about this. That will kick off actually a series of Apollo episodes we have as we near the 50th anniversary of the landing on the Moon. So, with that, check it out next week, the Heroes behind the Heroes. We’ll see you then.