Deliverables for Exploration

The Cardiovascular Alterations Team is focusing on countermeasures to ensure that potential changes in cardiovascular function do not interfere with crew performance or mission success.

The anticipated deliverables for spaceflight include:
  • Acquisition of information that is essential to make decisions regarding astronaut selection for space exploration that will allow flight surgeons to minimize the risk for catastrophic cardiovascular events;
  • An optimal strategy of cardiovascular screening to reduce the risk of flying astronauts with pre-existing, but subclinical, heart diseases that could become manifest during an exploration mission;
  • New methods to extract physiological data on strain and torsion of the heart from space station echocardiography;
  • A comprehensive view of the heart in space derived from spaceflight-obtained data;
  • Improved safety (heat tolerance) and physical work capacity of astronauts during extravehicular activities;
  • Countermeasures to lessen the adverse effects of radiation-related damage to the endothelial cells which are the lining of the blood vessels and the heart; and
  • Determination of whether long-duration spaceflight leads to clinically significant changes in cardiac and vascular structure and function.

To preserve astronaut health on long missions, NSBRI studied the benefits of rowing as part of an exercise program to counteract space-related heart, lung, muscle and bone problems.