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    Innovation and Collaborations - Challenges and Collaborative Opportunities

    Space Life Sciences is currently seeking solutions for the following challenges. Click on the links below to learn more.

    If you or your organization are interested in collaborating with us to address these needs and would like more information, please click on the Get Connected tab located on our homepage Launch Pad or on the link provided below to remit your contact information to the Space Life Sciences Directorate.

    Space Life Sciences - Exploring Space | Enhancing Life

Challenges and Collaborative Opportunities

  • Challenge : Digital Astronaut - Model of Physiologic Simulations of Exposure to Microgravity

    NASA seeks to develop a model capable of a wide range of physiologic simulations of exposure to microgravity over various time periods and environmental circumstances, engaging multiple physiologic systems, resulting in the most detailed systems analysis of human spaceflight available.

  • Challenge : In-flight Imaging System

    NASA needs in-flight topical and internal imaging systems to diagnose pathologies for adequate treatment of an ill or injured crewmember. Specific medical conditions have been targeted, prioritized by risk to exploration missions, where imaging and imaging-derived capabilities are required for diagnosis and treatment.

  • Challenge : Real-time Microbiology Analysis and Water and Surface Microbiological Monitoring

    NASA seeks methods for real-time microbiological monitoring and analysis of spacecraft water and surfaces. Likely contamination events will include fungal contamination of the vehicle interior surfaces and bacterial contamination of the potable water systems. Requirements include a need for extended shelf life of consumables, improved autonomy of the crew to monitor and respond without Earth-based technical support, and the provision of greater information for decision-making.

  • Challenge : Behavioral Health and Performance Tools

    NASA is seeking a system to understand and measure the performance effects of team cohesion, team composition, team training, or psychosocial adaptation for application to spaceflight on the based of ground based evidence. Evidence from spaceflight and ground-based studies supports the idea that both performance and health are influenced by several interpersonal factors...

  • Challenge : Food Packaging - Extend Life and Reduced O2

    NASA seeks safe, nutritious, acceptable, and varied shelf-stable foods with a shelf life of 3 - 5 years to support the crew during future exploration missions to the Moon or Mars. Concurrently, the food system must efficiently balance appropriate vehicle resources such as mass, volume, water, air, waste, power, and crew time. New food packaging technologies are needed that have adequate oxygen and water barrier properties to maintain the foods' quality over a 3 - 5 year shelf life.

  • Challenge : Compact Effective Aerobic and Resistive Exercise Device

    NASA seeks an effective aerobic and resistive exercise device for the Constellation vehicles, in a small footprint and with minimal impact to the vehicle resources. Constellation mission scenarios will require crewmembers to transit in microgravity and live and work in partial gravity for extended periods of time, initially with missions of approximately 14 days to missions on the order of months (and years with respect to Mars).

  • Challenge : Develop Radiation Biological Countermeasures to Reduce Biological Damage Due to Ionizing Radiation

    NASA is seeking effective countermeasures to reduce the biological damage produced by ionizing radiation during human spaceflight missions, as well as treatments for acute radiation syndrome symptoms to prevent mission operational impacts. Space radiation field differs dramatically in composition, and the biological effects are varied for low dose-rate compared with acute irradiation.

  • Challenge : Develop and Maintain Human/Systems Integration (HSI) Standards

    NASA needs an effective method for developing and applying Human System Integration (HSI) standards early in the human spaceflight program/vehicle design process to enhance human performance and enable mission success.

  • Challenge : Bone Microarchitecture In-Flight Monitor

    NASA seeks high resolution technologies that can distinguish trabecular thickness and spacing for sites of the central skeleton to evaluate the temporal changes in cancellous bone microarchitecture due to mechanical unloading and loading - such as i) with the spaceflight analog (bed rest model), ii) with varying durations of spaceflight, iii) with return to 1G and iv) with exercise rehabilitation.

  • Challenge : Lack of Minimally Invasive In-Flight Laboratory Capabilities with Limited Consumables

    NASA seeks a system to perform in-flight analysis of bodily fluids (urine, blood, saliva) on the lunar surface, providing the data near real-time in lieu of post flight results and that will also reduce launch/return mass/volume. . In addition to microfluidic processing systems, non-invasive monitoring devices may also be considered.

  • Challenge : Radiation Shielding in Spacecraft Design

    NASA seeks radiation protection in manned space vehicles because of cost and up-mass considerations. Methods exist today for direct manipulation of design concepts to maximize performance using on-board materials, but these could be substantially improved through other means.