Release Date:
August 23, 2011

Proposals Due:
September 22, 2011

Proposals Due:
December 19, 2011

Research and Technology Development to Support Crew Health and Performance in Space Exploration Missions

This NASA Research Announcement (NRA) jointly solicits ground-based, bed-rest definition and flight definition proposals for the NASA Human Research Program (HRP) and the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI).

Proposals are solicited by the NSBRI in the following areas:

Cardiovascular Alterations

  • Identify and validate biomarkers of individual susceptibility to the development and progression of subclinical cardiovascular disease in the context of other risks associated with long-duration space missions.

Human Factors and Performance

  • Develop and validate lighting protocols to address neurobehavioral outcomes for long-duration crews. The protocols should address abrupt schedule shifts, enhance circadian entrainment, improve alertness and performance, while (1) preserving the ability to read instruments and displays, and perform routine tasks and duties aboard the ISS or other space vehicles, and (2) reducing crew resource requirements.
  • Develop formulations that are stable, protect essential vitamins (e.g., vitamins A and C, folic acid and thiamin), and preserve the quality and acceptability of shelf-stable food items for exploration missions.
  • Develop design tools and evaluation methods to ensure effective automation architectures and interfaces for long-duration human space missions. Research products should guide task/subtask assignments, objectively assess goal-directed progress, and facilitate effective information sharing among members of mixed-agent teams.

Musculoskeletal Alterations

  • Validate in an analog setting an operationally feasible, integrated aerobic and resistive exercise countermeasure device to maintain muscle mass and function, and the capacity of other physiological systems, during long-duration space missions. The preferred device will be no bigger than 45 cm x 25 cm x 25 cm, have a mass of no more than 5.4 kg, require no external power, and accommodate a range of motion of at least 1 meter.
  • Using an analog environment or animal models, determine the time course of changes in structure and function of muscle and bone, together as an integrated system, in the context of risks imposed during long-duration spaceflight.

Neurobehavioral and Psychosocial Factors

  • Develop non-obtrusive objective means of detecting and mitigating cognitive performance deficits, stress, fatigue, anxiety and depression for the operational setting of spaceflight.
  • Identify and validate markers of susceptibility to stress, fatigue and neurobehavioral decrements potentially associated with long-duration spaceflight.
  • Determine the effects of an analog of long-duration spaceflight on neural structural alterations and assess associated impacts on cognitive and behavioral performance

Sensorimotor Adaptation

  • Develop a pre-flight sensorimotor adaptability assessment program that will identify those individuals who are likely to experience difficulty with gravitational transitions and sensorimotor adaptation and validate interventions or countermeasures.

Smart Medical Systems and Technology

  • Refine and implement techniques to non-invasively assess intracranial pressure in harsh remote environments, and in particular, space.
  • Develop diagnostic training, models, and just-in-time medical care procedures using ultrasound and other modalities to facilitate autonomous health care by non-experts in remote extreme environments.
  • Refine near-infrared spectroscopy technologies, as part of an integrated medical system, to non-invasively assess health, including brain function, in resource-constrained environments such as space.

Proposals are solicited by NASA in the following areas:

Visual Acuity and Ocular Structure and Function
Fluid Distribution
Team Social, Technical, and Task Roles
Effects of Constrained, Asynchronous Communication on Operational Tasks

Full Announcement on: NASA NSPIRES Website.

Proposals solicited through this NRA will use a two-step proposal process. Only Step-1 proposers determined to be relevant with respect to the solicited research of this NRA will be invited to submit full Step-2 proposals.

Proposals must be submitted electronically, and all proposals submitted to NSBRI must be submitted through NASA’s proposal data system, NSPIRES at http://nspires.nasaprs.com.