The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is set to complete another major milestone on its journey to space as the American space agency is all geared up to prepare humans for a three-year long journey to Mars.
Ahead of their much-anticipated journey to space NASA's Human Research Program is calling for research proposals that can help understand how long-term experiences in space could affect the human body.
While typical missions to the International Space Station (ISS) last just six months, NASA is trying to establish a baseline for proposed deep space missions up to 400 days in length.
The group of scientists are seeking proposals in several topic areas in order to understand, prevent, diagnose, treat, mitigate, and cure the potential health effects of prolonged spaceflight.
Talking about their much-awaited mission John Charles, associate director for Exploration Research Planning of the Human Research Program at NASA's Johnson Space Center said, "To draw any conclusions about the cumulative effects of exposure to space, we need to observe more astronauts spending larger amounts of time in the space environment."
"Scientists can use the information to predict physical and behavioral health trends," Charles added further.
Research from the selected proposals is expected to build upon data collected during the first one-year mission when astronauts Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko spent nearly a year in space.
Additional space station studies, supplemented with research conducted at analogues on Earth, will allow NASA to accumulate a more comprehensive biomedical, behavioral, and performance health dataset.
The findings may also support innovative diagnostic and behavioral approaches on Earth.
For example, research in team problem-solving skills has the potential to be applied to all personnel involved in any long-duration mission and to any team involved in critical decision-making processes.
Proposals have to be submitted by January 4 next year and NASA expects to select 15 to 18 proposals for grants with a maximum duration of seven years.
(With PTI inputs)