When astronaut Scott Kelly blasts into space in 2015, he'll be a living, breathing medical experiment.
Kelly will be helping researchers figure out the physical and psychological impact of living on the international space station for one full year!
What they discover could help future astronauts survive a two year round trip to Mars.
An ingestible pill thermometer was developed for astronauts. Now it's helping make sure athletes, troops, and firefighters don't die from heat exhaustion. A heart pump inspired by rocket engines keeps patients waiting for heart transplants alive.
Even purified water systems designed for the space shuttle are making their way into our dentist's office and there's more to come from the final frontier.
Orthopedic surgeon Doctor Douglas Chang works with astronauts.
Douglas Chang, MD, PhD, University of California, said: "About 85% have significant back pain."
In zero gravity, they grow an average of two inches when the curvature of their spines straightens out!
Dr. Chang, said: "They have an increased incidence of disc herniations."
Doctor Chang is researching why discs may be getting weaker in space. Figuring out why? could help keep discs down here from hurting.
Astronauts could also be the key in helping stop the effects of osteoporosis. Studies show they lose two-percent of their bone mass for every month spent in zero gravity. Researchers are working on ways to stop the progression in space, which could stop the progression on Earth.
A small sample of the space-inspired breakthroughs improving lives now and possibly in the future.