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NASA Selects Three Proposals to Support Behavioral Health and Performance on Deep Space Missions
October 8, 2014

[image-69]NASA's Human Research Program (HRP) will fund three proposals to help investigate questions about behavioral health and performance on future deep space exploration missions. Research like this may help astronauts as they venture farther into the solar system than ever before to explore an asteroid and, eventually, Mars.

The three projects were selected from 11 proposals received in response to the research announcement "Human Exploration Research Opportunities - Behavioral Health and Performance." Science and technology experts from academia and government reviewed the proposals.

Two proposals will investigate neurobehavioral conditions and standardized behavioral measures relevant to exploration class missions. One proposal will evaluate the neurobehavioral effects of a dynamic lighting system on the International Space Station.

HRP research provides knowledge and technologies to reduce crew health and performance risks during space exploration. It also develops potential countermeasures for problems experienced during space travel. Mission planners and system developers can use these potential countermeasures to monitor and mitigate the risks to crew health and performance.

While the program’s research goals are to ensure astronauts living off the Earth safely complete their challenging space missions and preserve their long-term health, these same research studies can also lead to advancements in human health understanding and treatments for patients on Earth.

The selected proposals are from three institutions in two states and will receive a total of about $3.2 million during a three-year period:

  • Candice Alfano, University of Houston – “Characterization of Psychological Risk, Overlap with Physical Health, and Associated Performance in Isolated, Confined, Extreme Environments”
  • George Brainard, Thomas Jefferson University – “Testing Solid State Lighting Countermeasures to Improve Circadian Adaptation, Sleep, and Performance During High Fidelity Analog and Flight Studies for the ISS”
  • David Dinges, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine – “Standardized Behavioral Measures for Detecting Behavioral Health Risks during Exploration Missions”
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Astronaut Mike Fincke holds a light fixture inside of Node 2 on the station. The fluorescent-based lights currently on ISS will soon be replaced by a customized, dynamic LED system, which NASA-funded Behavioral Health and Performance researchers will evaluate in their upcoming flight experiment.
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Page Last Updated: October 8th, 2014
Page Editor: Carlyle Webb