Status Report

NASA Selects 12 Proposals to Support Health and Performance in Astronauts on Missions to the Moon and Mars

By SpaceRef Editor
April 30, 2019
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Missions to destinations like the Moon or Mars will demand astronauts adapt to the many hazards the human body will have to endure. NASA’s Human Research Program will fund 12 proposals to help answer questions about astronaut health and performance during future long-duration missions beyond low-Earth orbit. The selected proposals will investigate biological, physiological, and behavioral adaptations to spaceflight. The 12 selected projects will contribute to NASA’s long-term plans, which include crewed missions to the Moon and Mars.


The Human Research Program works to address the practical problems of spaceflight that impact astronaut health, and its research may provide knowledge and technologies that could improve human health and performance during space exploration and aid the development of potential countermeasures for problems experienced during space travel. The organization’s goals are to help astronauts complete their challenging missions successfully and to preserve their long-term health.


The selected investigations will take place in research laboratories and in ground-based analogs, which mimic various aspects of the spaceflight environment. Among the studies, Larry Sanford, Professor at Eastern Virginia Medical School, will examine the impact of inflight stress and sleep disturbances on brain function, neural communication, and inflammation. C. Ross Ethier, Professor at Georgia Tech, will use imaging data and modeling approaches to study the mechanisms and contributing risk factors associated with Spaceflight Associated Neuro-ocular Syndrome, a spectrum of alterations in the eye that can affect the vision of astronauts. Richard Simpson, Associate Professor at the University of Arizona, will investigate the effects of simulated microgravity on the immune system.


The selected proposals are from ten institutions in eight states and the District of Columbia and will receive a total of approximately $7.9 million during a one- to four-year period. The 12 projects were selected from 71 proposals received in response to the 2018 Human Exploration Research Opportunities Appendix A and Appendix B


The complete list of the selected proposals, principal investigators and organizations can be found at:

SpaceRef staff editor.