Status Report

NASA Selects 8 Proposals to Support Astronaut Health and Performance

By SpaceRef Editor
January 22, 2021
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NASA’s Human Research Program will fund eight 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 eight 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. Its research provides 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, Allison Anderson, assistant professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, will investigate the use of specifically designed immersive and adaptive virtual reality environments to train astronauts for long duration exploration missions. Cheryl Nickerson, professor at Arizona State University, will study how spaceflight-induced changes to host intestinal tissue and altered pathogenicity of bacteria could result in different disease states than would be expected on Earth. Anthony Lau, associate professor at the College of New Jersey, will examine the relationship between radiation-induced changes in neurobehavior and bone physiology.


The selected proposals are from eight institutions in seven states and will receive approximately $4.8 million during a one- to four-year period. Eight projects were selected from 66 proposals received in response to the 2019 Human Exploration Research Opportunities Appendices E and F.  Science and technology experts from academia, government, and industry reviewed the proposals. Three of the grant recipients (Du, Lau, and Yun) are new principal investigators to the Human Research Program.


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


SpaceRef staff editor.