NASA's new R&D institute focuses on long-term astronaut health

Spending a lot of time in space can have severe health ramifications for astronauts; those on the International Space Station must be careful to adhere to a strict exercise regimen, for example, and NASA has been using them as part of its wider research on the health effects of space. To further its work in this area, NASA has teamed up with Baylor College of Medicine in Houston to launch a new R&D institute focused on astronaut health.

Says NASA, this new institute will focus on both the development and research of ways to minimize astronaut health risks on long missions. In particular, these innovations, as NASA calls them, will be a necessary part of the space agency's goal of getting humans to Mars. The duo are calling this the NTRI: the NASA Translational Research Institute.

Under the NTRI, the team will start work on the Human Research Program this upcoming October 1, with that program itself falling under the Translational Research Institute Cooperative Agreement. NASA is seeking practical solutions and innovations that can reasonably be used during spaceflights; some of these will be real-world implementations of existing research and ideas.

NASA Director of Space Life and Physical Sciences Research and Applications Marshall Porterfield said:

It's fitting on the 47th anniversary of humanity's first moon landing that we're announcing a new human spaceflight research institute that will help reduce risks for our astronauts on the next giant leap — our Journey to Mars.