NASA is calling for research proposals that can help understand the health effects of long term space travel on astronauts, in order to prepare humans for a three-year long journey to Mars.
NASA is calling for research proposals that can help understand the health effects of long term space travel on astronauts, in order to prepare humans for a three-year long journey to Mars. NASA’s Human Research Program is seeking research proposals in several topic areas. Such research will help NASA establish a baseline for proposed deep space missions up to 400 days in length as well as understand, prevent, diagnose, treat, mitigate, and cure the potential health effects of prolonged spaceflight. “To draw any conclusions about the cumulative effects of exposure to space, we need to observe more astronauts spending larger amounts of time in the space environment,” said John Charles, associate director for Exploration Research Planning of the Human Research Program at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. “Scientists can use the information to predict physical and behavioral health trends,” said Charles. Research from the selected proposals is expected to build upon data collected during the first one-year mission when astronauts Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko spent nearly a year in space.
Additional space station studies, supplemented with research conducted at analogues on Earth, will allow NASA to accumulate a more comprehensive biomedical, behavioral, and performance health dataset. The findings may also support innovative diagnostic and behavioral approaches on Earth. For example, research in team problem-solving skills has the potential to be applied to all personnel involved in any long-duration mission and to any team involved in critical decision-making processes. Proposals have to be submitted by January 4 next year and NASA expects to select 15 to 18 proposals for grants with a maximum duration of seven years.