Current Spaceflight News and Events

Current Spaceflight News and Events, Spaceflight News Articles.
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Research provides new insights on health effects of long-duration space flight
Among the new findings, the research team found that chronic oxidative stress during spaceflight contributed to the telomere elongation they observed. They also found that astronauts had shorter telomeres after spaceflight than they did before. (2020-11-25)

Space worms experiment reveals gravity affects genes
Living at low gravity affects cells at the genetic level, according to a study of worms in space. (2020-11-25)

Space travel can adversely impact energy production in a cell
Studies of both mice and humans who have traveled into space reveal that critical parts of a cell's energy production machinery, the mitochondria, can be made dysfunctional due to changes in gravity, radiation exposure and other factors. These findings are part of an extensive research effort across many scientific disciplines to look at the health effects of travel into space. (2020-11-25)

SwRI scientists expand space instrument's capabilities
A new study by Southwest Research Institute scientists describes how they have ex-panded the capabilities of the prototype spaceflight instrument Chemistry Organic and Dating Experiment (CODEX), designed for field-based dating of extraterrestrial materi-als. CODEX now uses two different dating approaches based on rubidium-strontium and lead-lead geochronology methods. The instrument uses laser ablation resonance ionization mass spectrometry (LARIMS) to obtain dates using these methods. (2020-11-16)

Human heart in space: What can we learn from mathematical modeling
The research carried out by the Politecnico di Torino shows that space flight ages astronauts' heart. (2020-10-08)

On the trail of causes of radiation events during space flight
Scientists have made significant progress in understanding the sources of radiation events that could impact human space-flight operations. Relativistic Electron Precipitation (REP) events are instances when high energy electrons move through areas of space at significant fractions of the speed of light. These REP events may pose challenges to human spaceflight, specifically during extravehicular activity (EVA). (2020-10-05)

Sleep duration, efficiency and structure change in space
It's hard to get a good night's sleep in space. An evaluation of astronauts serving on the Mir space station found that they experienced shorter sleep durations, more wakefulness, and changes in the structure of their sleep cycles while in microgravity. (2020-08-25)

SwRI scientists demonstrate speed, precision of in situ planetary dating device
Southwest Research Institute scientists have increased the speed and accuracy of a laboratory-scale instrument for determining the age of planetary specimens onsite. The team is progressively miniaturizing the Chemistry, Organics and Dating Experiment (CODEX) instrument to reach a size suitable for spaceflight and lander missions. (2020-06-29)

Study reveals how spaceflight affects risk of blood clots in female astronauts
A study of female astronauts has assessed the risk of blood clots associated with spaceflight. The study, published in Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance, in collaboration with King's College London, the Centre for Space Medicine Baylor College of Medicine, NASA Johnson Space Centre and the International Space University, examines the potential risk factors for developing a blood clot (venous thromboembolism) in space. (2020-05-05)

Long spaceflights affect astronaut brain volume
Extended periods in space have long been known to cause vision problems in astronauts. Now a new study suggests that the impact of long-duration space travel is more far-reaching, potentially causing brain volume changes and pituitary gland deformation. (2020-04-14)

Investigating spaceflight-associated changes in astronauts
Head congestion is one of the most common symptoms experienced by astronauts during spaceflight. This observational study examined preflight and postflight head magnetic resonance images (MRIs) of 35 astronauts who participated in either a short-duration (30 days or less) Space Shuttle mission or a long-duration (greater than 30 days) International Space Station mission. (2020-03-26)

1ST reported occurrence & treatment of spaceflight medical risk 200+ miles above earth
Serena Auñón-Chancellor, M.D., M.P.H., Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine's branch campus in Baton Rouge, is the lead author of a paper describing a previously unrecognized risk of spaceflight discovered during a study of astronauts involved in long-duration missions. The paper details a case of stagnant blood flow resulting in a clot in the internal jugular vein of an astronaut stationed on the International Space Station. (2020-01-02)

Eye changes from spaceflight compared to simulated weightlessness
Some astronauts who fly long missions to the International Space Station experience eye changes. This study investigated whether the eye changes from the traditional spaceflight analog (an experience on earth meant to mimic spaceflight) of simulated weightlessness from 30 days of bed rest with head tilted down were similar to those experienced by astronauts during spaceflight. (2019-12-26)

The ways astronauts prep for spaceflight could benefit cancer patients, say researchers
During spaceflight, astronauts experience similar physical stress as cancer patients undergoing treatments such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy. In a commentary published Nov. 14 in the journal Cell, researchers suggest that by mimicking a NASA astronaut's schedule of exercising before, during, and after a mission, cancer patients could reduce the long-term impact their treatments often have on their bodies. (2019-11-14)

Human heart cells are altered by spaceflight, but return to (mostly) normal on Earth
Heart muscle cells derived from stem cells show remarkable adaptability to their environment during and after spaceflight, according to a study publishing Nov. 7 in Stem Cell Reports. The researchers examined cell-level cardiac function and gene expression in human heart cells cultured aboard the International Space Station for 5.5 weeks. Exposure to microgravity altered the expression of thousands of genes, but largely normal patterns of gene expression reappeared within 10 days after returning to Earth. (2019-11-07)

Study underscores changes in brain structure, function in long-duration space missions
New study demonstrates for the first time that changes in cognitive performance correlate with changes in brain structure in NASA astronauts following spaceflight. (2019-10-28)

Innovative model created for NASA to predict vitamin levels in spaceflight food
A team of food scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has developed a groundbreaking, user-friendly mathematical model for NASA to help ensure that astronauts' food remains rich in nutrients during extended missions in space. (2019-09-12)

Spaceflight consistently affects the gut
A new Northwestern University study discovered that spaceflight -- both aboard a space shuttle or the International Space Station (ISS) -- has a consistent effect on the gut microbiome. (2019-08-21)

Space research helps patients on Earth with low blood pressure condition
With the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing approaching, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers are publishing heart-related space research that helps us to understand the problem of low blood pressure. (2019-07-19)

Red wine's resveratrol could help Mars explorers stay strong, says Harvard study
Mars is about 9 months from Earth with today's tech, NASA reckons. As the new space race hurtles forward, Harvard researchers are asking: how do we make sure the winners can still stand when they reach the finish line? Published in Frontiers in Physiology, their study shows that resveratrol substantially preserves muscle mass and strength in rats exposed to the wasting effects of simulated Mars gravity. (2019-07-18)

Drinking red wine on the red planet
BIDMC researchers report that a daily moderate dose of resveratrol significantly preserved muscle function and mitigated muscle atrophy in an animal model mimicking Mars' partial gravity. Novel model innovated by BIDMC researchers will help scientists fill in the blanks about the little understood physiological consequences of partial gravity. (2019-07-18)

Special issue: Organoids open frontiers in biomedicine, as design challenges are addressed
A Special Issue of Science featuring four Reviews illuminates ways in which organoid technology is opening up frontiers of research in biomedicine, allowing for the testing of cancer drugs on cells from individual patients, for example. (2019-06-06)

Space travel and your joints
A novel Henry Ford Hospital study of mice aboard a Russian spaceflight may raise an intriguing question for the astronauts of tomorrow: Could traveling in space be bad for your joints? Researchers found early signs of cartilage breakdown in the mice, suggesting that the reduced biomechanical forces of spaceflight are at play on the musculoskeletal system. (2019-05-21)

The FASEB Journal: Pericytes may improve muscle recovery
Extended periods of limb immobilization -- whether from long-term bed rest, casting, spaceflight, or other circumstances -- can reduce skeletal muscle mass and strength to the extent that recovery is delayed or never achieved. The biological basis for this lack of recovery, however, remains unclear. An animal study published in The FASEB Journal provides the first evidence that pericytes (cells integral to blood vessel formation) are important for regulating muscle mass, particularly in the context of recovery following disuse atrophy. (2019-04-25)

Can exercise, swimming goggles help protect astronauts against spaceflight-associated changes to eye, vision?
Astronauts on long missions at the International Space Station can experience changes to their eyes and vision that can last for years. This study included 20 men who on three separate days at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston completed exercises while on their back and tilted back head-first (to simulate the effect of exercise in space); 10 of the participants wore swimming goggles. (2019-04-18)

NASA Twins Study includes San Antonio multiomics center
The NASA Twins Study compares the health of identical twin astronauts, one who spent a year in spaceflight while the other remained on Earth. A team led by UT Health San Antonio and the University of California, San Diego showed that a metabolite called lactate was increased in the astronaut in space and reverted to normal levels when he returned to Earth. Lactate is connected to the function of cellular powerhouses called mitochondria. (2019-04-11)

NASA Twins Study offers new insight on how a human's body responds to spaceflight
Colorado State University Professor Susan Bailey, who studies telomeres, or the protective 'caps' on the ends of chromosomes, found that Scott Kelly's telomeres in his white blood cells got longer while in space. Changes in telomere length could mean a person is at risk for accelerated aging or the diseases that come along with getting older. (2019-04-11)

Human genomics and physiology in the final frontier: Results from the NASA Twins Study
The health impacts of NASA's longest-duration human spaceflight are detailed in a new study comparing astronaut Scott Kelly, who spent nearly a year in orbit, with his twin, Mark, back home on Earth. (2019-04-11)

Astronaut twins study yields new insights and portable DNA sequencing tools
Long-term spaceflight causes more changes to gene expression than shorter trips, especially to the immune system and DNA repair systems, according to research by Weill Cornell Medicine and NASA investigators as part of NASA's Twins Study, which followed the only set of identical twin astronauts for more than a year. (2019-04-11)

NASA Twins Study finds spaceflight affects gut bacteria
During his yearlong stay on the International Space Station (ISS), astronaut Scott Kelly experienced a shift in the ratio of two major categories of bacteria in his gut microbiome. The diversity of bacteria in his microbiome, however, did not change during spaceflight, which the Northwestern University-led research team found encouraging. (2019-04-11)

NASA Twins Study: A year in space has little effect on gut microbiome
A year in space seems to have a small but significant, transient effect on the gut microbiome, according to a new paper on the NASA Twins Study published in the journal Science. (2019-04-11)

NASA researchers catalogue all microbes and fungi on the International Space Station
A comprehensive catalogue of the bacteria and fungi found on surfaces inside the International Space Station (ISS) is being presented in a study published in the open-access journal Microbiome. (2019-04-07)

In vivo data show effects of spaceflight microgravity on stem cells and tissue regeneration
A new review of data from 12 spaceflight experiments and simulated microgravity studies has shown that microgravity does not have a negative effect on stem-like cell-dependent tissue regeneration in newts, but in some tissues regeneration is faster and more robust. (2019-03-25)

Superbugs have colonized the International Space Station -- but there's a silver lining
Researchers have taken another small step towards deep space exploration, by testing a new silver- and ruthenium-based antimicrobial coating aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Published in Frontiers in Microbiology, their study shows that the AGXX® dramatically reduced the number of bacteria on contamination-prone surfaces -- and could help protect future astronauts beyond the moon and Mars. (2019-03-19)

Dormant viruses activate during spaceflight -- NASA investigates
Herpes viruses reactivate in more than half of crew aboard Space Shuttle and International Space Station missions, according to NASA research published in Frontiers in Microbiology. While only a small proportion develop symptoms, virus reactivation rates increase with spaceflight duration and could present a significant health risk on missions to Mars and beyond. (2019-03-15)

Effects of spaceflight on heart cell formation from stem cells
Researchers used time-lapse imaging to show that mouse induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) grown during spaceflight differentiated into cardiomyocytes significantly faster than similar cells grown at Earth's gravity. (2019-03-06)

Brain condition related to long-term spaceflights needs more attention, data
Recognizing the need for more data related to the effects of microgravity on the human body, Medical University of South Carolina neuroradiologist Donna Roberts, M.D., and co-author Lonnie G. Petersen, M.D.,Ph.D., University of California San Diego, have published ''The Study of Hydrocephalus Associated With Long-term Spaceflight (HALS) Provides New Insights into Cerebrospinal Fluid Flow,'' in JAMA Neurology's Jan. 23 online publication. (2019-01-24)

Prolonged spaceflight could weaken astronauts' immune systems
University of Arizona researchers led the first study to report impaired NK-cell function during long-duration space travel. (2019-01-23)

Long-duration space missions have lasting effects on spinal muscles
Astronauts who spend several months on the International Space Station have significant reductions in the size and density of paraspinal muscles of the trunk after returning to Earth, reports a study in Spine. The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer. (2019-01-09)

How does your garden grow in space?
Understanding how plants respond to microgravity is critical to providing fresh food during space exploration initiatives. Researchers at the University of Florida Space Plants Lab compared two methods - RNA-Seq and microarray -- of analyzing which genes are expressed (the 'transcriptome') in plant tissue, specifically in the root tip. The results reveal how plants adapt to the microgravity space environment and can help guide research needed for the successful utilization of plants in future exploration initiatives. (2018-12-19)

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