ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst working on a medical experiment during his six-month mission on the International Space Station.
Our skin protects us, regulates our temperature and allows us to feel objects. As we grow older, our skin becomes more fragile and takes longer to heal from injuries. Astronauts lose more skin cells and age faster during spaceflight. A common complaint of astronauts is cracking skin and rashes or itchiness.
The Skin-B experiment uses data already collected by ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano and is the first research into skin in space. It collects data on skin structure, oxygenation, hydration and elasticity. The goal is to develop a computer model of how skin ages. Results on Alexander’s skin will improve the model and could contribute to protecting people’s skin on Earth as well as in space.
Many more astronauts will take part in this experiment adding their results to the research data. NASA astronaut and Alexander’s crewmate Reid Wiseman is also taking part in Skin-B.