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Life Sciences in Space Research

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August 2018: Life Sciences in Space Research
Alexandra Pontefract, Julie Hachey, Maria T Zuber, Gary Ruvkun, Christopher E Carr
The detection of extant life is a major focus of many planned future planetary missions, a current challenge of which is the ability to target biomarkers capable of providing unambiguous evidence of life. DNA sequencing is increasingly recognized as a powerful tool for life detection for planetary exploration missions; beyond use of sequence information to determine the origins of the sample (e.g., extant life or forward contamination), recent advances in the field have enabled interrogation of single molecules, with or without amplification...
August 2018: Life Sciences in Space Research
Christina Mackaill, Gregori Sponchiado, Ana K Leite, Paola Dias, Michele Da Rosa, Elliot J Brown, Julio C M de Lima, Lucas Rehnberg, Thais Russomano
INTRODUCTION: 2015 UK resuscitation guidelines aim for 50-60 mm depth when giving external chest compressions (ECCs). This is achievable in hypogravity if the rescuer flexes and extends their arms during CPR, or using a new method trialed; the 'Mackaill-Russomano' (MR CPR) method. METHODS: 10 participants performed 3 sets of 30 ECCs in accordance with 2015 guidelines. A control was used at 1Gz, with eight further conditions using Mars and Moon simulations, with and without braces in the terrestrial position and using the MR CPR method...
August 2018: Life Sciences in Space Research
John W Norbury, Kathryn Whitman, Kerry Lee, Tony C Slaba, Francis F Badavi
This paper is the third in a series of comparisons of American (NASA) and Russian (ROSCOSMOS) space radiation calculations. The present work focuses on calculation of fluxes of galactic cosmic rays (GCR), which are a constant source of radiation that constitutes one of the major hazards during deep space exploration missions for both astronauts/cosmonauts and hardware. In this work, commonly used GCR models are compared with recently published measurements of cosmic ray Hydrogen, Helium, and the Boron-to-Carbon ratio from the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS)...
August 2018: Life Sciences in Space Research
Rafe A McBeth, Thomas B Borak
Measurements of the incident fluence of HZE particles, as a function of LET, are used to determine absorbed dose as well as Quality Factors for assigning risk estimates to astronauts during manned space missions. These data are often based on thin solid state detectors that measure energy deposition, dE, and the assumption that the trajectory of the particle, dx, is equivalent to the thickness of the detector. Heavy ions often fragment while penetrating shielding materials in vehicles or habitats. Projectile fragments can be clustered spatially and temporally at the location of the thin detector which are then misclassified as a single particle...
August 2018: Life Sciences in Space Research
Motoshi Kamada, Kensuke Miyamoto, Mariko Oka, Eiji Uheda, Junichi Ueda, Akira Higashibata
The mechanism by which gravity controls the polar transport of auxin, a plant hormone regulating multiple physiological processes in higher plants, remains unclear, although an important role of PIN proteins as efflux carriers/facilitators in polar auxin transport is suggested. We are going to study the effect of microgravity on the polar transport of auxin, focusing on the cellular localization of its efflux carrier, PsPIN1 in etiolated pea seedlings and ZmPIN1a in etiolated maize seedlings grown under microgravity conditions on the International Space Station (ISS) using immunohistochemical analyses according to space experimental plans (Ueda, 2016)...
August 2018: Life Sciences in Space Research
Robert J Reynolds, Steven M Day
Astronauts and cosmonauts have been reported to be at substantially lower age-specific risk of death from chronic disease (primarily heart disease and cancers) in comparison to the general populations of the United States and Russia, respectively. Yet, both groups have been at greater age-specific risk of death from external causes, mainly due to plane crashes and spacecraft accidents. In this study we tested the hypothesis that the reported reductions in mortality from natural causes result, to some degree, from survival bias created by early deaths from external causes...
August 2018: Life Sciences in Space Research
Ye A Morozov, S V Trifonov, S A Ushakova, O V Anishchenko, A A Tikhomirov
The present study addresses the ways to increase the closure of biotechnical life support systems (BTLSS) for space applications. A promising method of organic waste processing based on "wet combustion" in hydrogen peroxide developed at the IBP SB RAS to produce fertilizers for higher plants is discussed. The method is relatively compact, energy efficient, productive, and eco-friendly. However, about 4-6 g/L of recalcitrant sediment containing such essential nutrients as Ca, Mg, P, Fe, Cu, Mn, and Zn precipitates after the initial process...
August 2018: Life Sciences in Space Research
V M Barabanov, V I Gulimova, R K Berdiev, S V Saveliev
We investigated the behavior of 15 female Turner's thick-toed geckos (Chondrodactylus turneri GRAY 1864) during a 30-day orbital experiment on the unmanned spacecraft "BION-M" No. 1. During weightlessness, the geckos maintained their ability to attach to the surfaces using the subdigital pads on their toes. On average, the geckos spent 99.9% of the time adhering to surfaces during the flight and only 0.1% floating freely. The active geckos, when starting to float, immediately restored attachment by a number of behavioral responses...
August 2018: Life Sciences in Space Research
Gerhild Bornemann, Kai Waßer, Jens Hauslage
Planetary habitation requires technology to maintain natural microbial processes, which make nutrients from biowaste available for plant cultivation. This study describes a 646 day experiment, in which trickling filters were monitored for their ability to mineralize nitrogen when loaded with artificial urine solutions of different concentrations (40, 60, 80 and 100% v/v). Former studies have indicated that increasing urine concentrations slow nitrogen conversion rates and induce growing instability. In the current experiment, nitrogen conversion rates, measured as nitrate production/day, did not differ between concentration levels and increasing instability was not observed...
August 2018: Life Sciences in Space Research
G Baiocco, M Giraudo, L Bocchini, S Barbieri, I Locantore, E Brussolo, D Giacosa, L Meucci, S Steffenino, A Ballario, B Barresi, R Barresi, M Benassai, L Ravagnolo, L Narici, A Rizzo, E Carrubba, F Carubia, G Neri, M Crisconio, S Piccirillo, G Valentini, S Barbero, M Giacci, C Lobascio, A Ottolenghi
As manned spaceflights beyond low Earth orbit are in the agenda of Space Agencies, the concerns related to space radiation exposure of the crew are still without conclusive solutions. The risk of long-term detrimental health effects needs to be kept below acceptable limits, and emergency countermeasures must be planned to avoid the short-term consequences of exposure to high particle fluxes during hardly predictable solar events. Space habitat shielding cannot be the ultimate solution: the increasing complexity of future missions will require astronauts to protect themselves in low-shielded areas, e...
August 2018: Life Sciences in Space Research
Kanokporn Noy Rithidech, Paiboon Reungpatthanaphong, Montree Tungjai, Witawat Jangiam, Louise Honikel, Elbert B Whorton
Little is known about plasma proteins that can be used as biomarkers for early and late responses to radiation. The purpose of this study was to determine a link between depletion of plasma gelsolin (pGSN) and cell-death as well as inflammatory responses in the lung (one of the tissues known to be radiosensitive) of the same exposed CBA/CaJ mice after exposure to heavy silicon (28 Si) ions. To prevent the development of multiple organ dysfunctions, pGSN (an important component of the extracellular actin-scavenging system) is responsible for the removal of actin that is released into the circulation during inflammation and from dying cells...
May 2018: Life Sciences in Space Research
W E Cromer, D C Zawieja
Space flight causes a number of alterations in physiological systems, changes in the immunological status of subjects, and altered interactions of the host to environmental stimuli. We studied the effect of space flight on the lymphatic system of the gastrointestinal tract which is responsible for lipid transport and immune surveillance which includes the host interaction with the gut microbiome. We found that there were signs of tissue damage present in the space flown animals that was lacking in ground controls (epithelial damage, crypt morphological changes, etc...
May 2018: Life Sciences in Space Research
Hannah Carr, Tyler C Alexander, Thomas Groves, Frederico Kiffer, Jing Wang, Elvin Price, Marjan Boerma, Antiño R Allen
Astronauts exposed to high linear energy transfer radiation may experience cognitive injury. The pathogenesis of this injury is unknown but may involve glutamate receptors or modifications to dendritic structure and/or dendritic spine density and morphology. Glutamate is the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, where it acts on ionotropic and metabotropic glutamate receptors located at the presynaptic terminal and in the postsynaptic membrane at synapses in the hippocampus. Dendritic spines are sites of excitatory synaptic transmission, and changes in spine structure and dendrite morphology are thought to be morphological correlates of altered brain function associated with hippocampal-dependent learning and memory...
May 2018: Life Sciences in Space Research
Frederico Kiffer, Alexis K Howe, Hannah Carr, Jing Wang, Tyler Alexander, Julie E Anderson, Thomas Groves, John W Seawright, Vijayalakshmi Sridharan, Gwendolyn Carter, Marjan Boerma, Antiño R Allen
NASA's Missions to Mars and beyond will expose flight crews to potentially dangerous levels of charged-particle radiation. Of all charged nuclei, 1 H is the most abundant charged particle in both the galactic cosmic ray (GCR) and solar particle event (SPE) spectra. There are currently no functional spacecraft shielding materials that are able to mitigate the charged-particle radiation encountered in space. Recent studies have demonstrated cognitive injuries due to high-dose 1 H exposures in rodents. Our study investigated the effects of 1 H irradiation on neuronal morphology in the hippocampus of adult male mice...
May 2018: Life Sciences in Space Research
David C Scofield, Jeffrey D Rytlewski, Paul Childress, Kishan Shah, Aamir Tucker, Faisal Khan, Jessica Peveler, Ding Li, Todd O McKinley, Tien-Min G Chu, Debra L Hickman, Melissa A Kacena
This study was initiated as a component of a larger undertaking designed to study bone healing in microgravity aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Spaceflight experimentation introduces multiple challenges not seen in ground studies, especially with regard to physical space, limited resources, and inability to easily reproduce results. Together, these can lead to diminished statistical power and increased risk of failure. It is because of the limited space, and need for improved statistical power by increasing sample size over historical numbers, NASA studies involving mice require housing mice at densities higher than recommended in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (National Research Council, 2011)...
May 2018: Life Sciences in Space Research
Starla G Thornhill, Manish Kumar
Providing drinking water to space missions such as the International Space Station (ISS) is a costly requirement for human habitation. To limit the costs of water transport, wastewater is collected and purified using a variety of physical and chemical means. To date, sand-based biofilters have been designed to function against gravity, and biofilms have been shown to form in microgravity conditions. Development of a universal silver-recycling biological filter system that is able to function in both microgravity and full gravity conditions would reduce the costs incurred in removing organic contaminants from wastewater by limiting the energy and chemical inputs required...
May 2018: Life Sciences in Space Research
L W Townsend, J H Adams, S R Blattnig, M S Clowdsley, D J Fry, I Jun, C D McLeod, J I Minow, D F Moore, J W Norbury, R B Norman, D V Reames, N A Schwadron, E J Semones, R C Singleterry, T C Slaba, C M Werneth, M A Xapsos
Protecting spacecraft crews from energetic space radiations that pose both chronic and acute health risks is a critical issue for future missions beyond low Earth orbit (LEO). Chronic health risks are possible from both galactic cosmic ray and solar energetic particle event (SPE) exposures. However, SPE exposures also can pose significant short term risks including, if dose levels are high enough, acute radiation syndrome effects that can be mission- or life-threatening. In order to address the reduction of short term risks to spaceflight crews from SPEs, we have developed recommendations to NASA for a design-standard SPE to be used as the basis for evaluating the adequacy of proposed radiation shelters for cislunar missions beyond LEO...
May 2018: Life Sciences in Space Research
James E Warner, Ryan B Norman, Steve R Blattnig
The deterministic radiation transport code HZETRN (High charge (Z) and Energy TRaNsport) was developed by NASA to study the effects of cosmic radiation on astronauts and instrumentation shielded by various materials. This work presents an analysis of computed differential flux from HZETRN compared with measurement data from three balloon-based experiments over a range of atmospheric depths, particle types, and energies. Model uncertainties were quantified using an interval-based validation metric that takes into account measurement uncertainty both in the flux and the energy at which it was measured...
May 2018: Life Sciences in Space Research
E R Taylor
If extraterrestrials exist in the depths of cosmic space, and are capable of interstellar communications, even space flight, there is no requirement that they be humanoid in form. However, certain humanoid capabilities would be advantageous for tool fashioning and critical to operating space craft as well as functioning under the disparate extreme conditions under which they may be forced to operate. They would have to be "gas breathing". The reasonable assumption that life based upon the same elements as Earth life requiring water stems from the unique properties of water that no other similar low molecular weight nonmetal hydride offers...
May 2018: Life Sciences in Space Research
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