Drug may keep astronauts’ bones strong Nature

A drug that prevents bone loss could permit astronauts to make long journeys in space, according to results from a study of spinal injury patients. Drugs such as zoledronate could certainly play a key role in long space missions, says Colin McGuckin, a stem-cell scientist at Kingston University, UK, who is working with NASA to develop a way to use cell transplants to limit an astronaut’s bone loss.
“It’s six months to Mars, a year doing experiments on the surface and then six months back. Over that time, bone loss is going to be a major problem,” he says.
But he adds that a mission to Mars will probably still need to provide the astronauts with an artificial gravity area, generated by a rotating section of the ship. “The solution will be a combination of clever medicine and clever spacecraft,” he says.