False Claim of NASA Participation in Wrinkle Research

By Keith Cowing
May 29, 2012
Filed under
False Claim of NASA Participation in Wrinkle Research

Contrary to what has been reported by various news outlets NASA is not doing anti-wrinkle research. Nor is the University of Utah.

This story in the New York Daily News is typical of what has been published over the past few days. It states:

“A “space drink” concocted by NASA to protect astronauts from radiation is having out-of-this-world results on battling wrinkles, blemishes and other skin damage from the sun. Researchers at the University of Utah found the drink known as AS10 has shown miraculous results on the 180 skin-damaged participants in their human trials. After just four months of drinking two shots of the potion daily, UV spots were reduced by 30% and wrinkles by 17%. The drink is a blend of exotic fruits, including acai, acerola, prickly pear, yumberry, grape, green tea, pomegranate and Brazil’s cupuacu. … “The skin is the first body tissue to be exposed to UV rays and we know it is sensitive to oxidative stress,” explained Dr. Aaron Barson, a nutritional scientist at the University of Utah.”

I could not find any news about this discovery at the University of Utah. I checked to see if there is anyone by this name at the University of Utah – I found this: “Barson Jr., Aaron V Faculty – Unpaid. Email [none] Phone: unavailable Dept/org Family and Preventive Medicine, Department of – Medicine, School of”. I cannot seem to find a single published paper or report on this “study”. Someone with the same name did publish something on Space sickness syndrome in 1979.

This AS10 drink was mentioned last year on Fox affiliate channel 26. A “press release” said: “The outcomes of this study are yet another success story in a line of nutritional technology advancements born from the research partnership between NASA/JSC and AmeriSciences started six years ago with the signing of a Space Act Agreement.”

But when you go to the AmeriSciences website you see that they are out of business: “AmeriSciences is hard at work to resolve challenges that have required us to cease normal operations for the present. Our goal is to find a suitable venue to continue to provide you with the best nutritional products in the world.”.

So … who is making the AS10 that the people in Utah are using to make wrinkles go away?

A comment made on NASA Watch by Christopher Nelson, Assistant Vice President for Public Affairs, University of Utah Health Care seeks to distance the university from all of this: “Aaron V. Barson, Jr. was a volunteer/adjunct clinical assistant professor at the University of Utah from 1988 through 2002. He currently has no affiliation with the University of Utah.”

According to information provided by NASA PAO, the “AS10” food substance mentioned in this news story is not a NASA food product. This food substance may have been developed by someone else using a product developed originally by AmeriSciences but NASA itself has not used any material or food substance described in these various news stories related to wrinkles nor is it conducting any research related to the claims made in these news stories.

In summary: the University of Utah says that they have nothing to do with the researcher who is quoted and NASA has nothing to do with this research.

So, sorry to break the news – but NASA has not developed a way to get rid of all those wrinkles on your face.

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.