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NASA institute will find ways to protect astronauts' health

Engadget Engadget 21/07/2016 Mariella Moon
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Lengthy deep space missions pose higher risks to spacefaring humans compared to trips to the ISS or to the moon -- after all, our bodies evolved for life on Earth. In an effort to find ways to reduce those risks, NASA has joined forces with the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. The partners will operate a new institute, slated to begin its operations on October 1st, dedicated to developing ways to protect astronauts' health for long-duration missions.

Thanks to the astronauts who spend months aboard the ISS, we know how outer space affects the human body. One of the effects of long-term stays in microgravity, for instance, is the deterioration of bone and muscle mass. The increase in intercranial pressure brought about by zero-g also leads to major eyesight problems.

According to the agency, the Translational Research Institute (NTRI) will develop "point-of-care astronaut health and performance applications." Translational research is a method that takes results from lab experiments involving cells or animals and applying them to human subjects. As such, it has the potential to give rise to real world applications much faster than traditional research can. Since NASA wants to send humans to Mars by 2030, it only makes sense that the agency wants to find ways to ensure the safety of its astronauts as soon as possible.


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