Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Preparing a human mission to Mars via Antarctica and Toulouse

16.06.2003


A human mission to Mars may still be some time away, but scientists are already aware of the many hazards that must be overcome if the dream is to become a reality. One particular cause for concern is the potential for physiological and psychological problems that could arise from the conditions of weightlessness, isolation and confinement experienced during a journey that could last six months or more.



To address these concerns ESA, in cooperation with the French space agency CNES, NASA and two Antarctic research organisations, is seeking proposals from scientists wishing to participate in two pioneering ground-based studies to simulate some of the side effects of extended periods of space flight.

Concordia


The first of these Research Announcements is for opportunities to conduct medical, physiological and psychological research at the Concordia station, a new scientific base that is being built in Antarctica by IPEV - the French Polar Institute, and PNRA - the Italian Antarctic Programme.

Although proposals put forward under this Research Announcement may or may not be relevant to space exploration, the space agencies recognise that Concordia’s unique environment will be invaluable for preparatory activities related to future human Mars missions.

“As one of the most isolated places on Earth, Concordia will provide an excellent analogue environment to replicate aspects of a mission to Mars,” said study leader Oliver Angerer. “For eight to nine months of the year the base will be completely cut off, so the occupants will have to learn to be fully autonomous.”

From the selected proposals, an integrated research programme will be created with a start date in spring 2006. The programme will be aimed at increasing knowledge of human adaptability to extreme environments - isolation, confinement, climate, altitude - and improving medical care in isolated locations.

International long-term bed rest study

In the second Research Announcement, ESA and the French Space Agency CNES are collaborating with NASA to solicit research proposals to address two of the cornerstones of the European Programme for Life and Physical Sciences and Applications utilising the International Space Station (ELIPS).



Muscle and bone physiology: the effects of changes of load on muscles and bone mass
Integrated physiology: the understanding of blood pressure and heart regulation
Transatlantic cooperation for this effort is welcome and NASA has issued an equivalent Research Announcement specifically for US investigators.

As opportunities for investigating human physiology in orbit are very limited, it is planned to simulate the effects of long-term microgravity on the ground by studying the human body’’s response to head-down tilt bed rest over a period of 60-90 days. The study, which will take place at a specialised French bed rest facility of the Institute for Space Medicine (MEDES) in Toulouse, will also evaluate preventative strategies and countermeasures to combat the associated adverse effects.
Male astronauts and volunteers predominated during previous studies in simulated and real microgravity, so the planned study for 2004/05 will investigate about 25 female volunteers (intervention groups and control group) and, if scientifically justified, a male control group consisting of about seven volunteers. This should reveal the differences and similarities in the response of the female and male physiology to musculoskeletal unloading.


“Essential driving factors behind the two research studies are oriented towards both application and exploration,” explained study leader Peter Jost. “In this way, the results will benefit the ESA Life Sciences Programme, with important spin-offs for medical science. Ultimately, advanced strategies will be developed to further improve health and safety during long-term stays on the International Space Station, and to facilitate a human mission to Mars.”

Oliver Angerer | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/export/esaHS/SEMOS4T1VED_index_0.html

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New malaria analysis method reveals disease severity in minutes
14.08.2017 | University of British Columbia

nachricht New type of blood cells work as indicators of autoimmunity
14.08.2017 | Instituto de Medicina Molecular

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>