Status Report

NASA Selects Proposals to Study Astronaut Health and Performance for Moon and Mars Missions

By SpaceRef Editor
May 14, 2021
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NASA’s Human Research Program will fund seven proposals to help protect 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 seven 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, Matthew Wargo, an Associate Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at University of Vermont, Burlington, will use a novel approach using mice to understand virulence in actual and simulated microgravity. This effort is the first to study virulence under these conditions in a live animal model. Evagelia Laiakis, an Associate Professor at Georgetown University, will examine the combined effects of radiation and exercise, which provides an opportunity to identify countermeasures to microgravity-induced muscle loss. Anil Kumar Raj, a Research Scientist at Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition Inc. will develop a compact, wearable countermeasure to maintain or improve performance, behavioral health, sensorimotor function and team efficacy for extended duration missions.


The selected proposals are from seven institutions in six states and will receive approximately $2.1 million during a one- to four-year period. The seven projects were selected from 80 proposals received in response to the 2020 Human Exploration Research Opportunities Appendices A and B.  Science and technology experts from academia, government, and industry independently reviewed the proposals.


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

SpaceRef staff editor.