UVA Health researchers studying effects of space travel on the body

Published: Sep. 22, 2023 at 5:49 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - Researchers at UVA Health are working to better understand what happens to the human body in space.

Cardiologist Dr. Jonathan Lindner works on one of NASA’s largest biomedical research projects. He’s working to study the effects of long term space flight, both for astronauts in low-Earth orbit and for those who will eventually travel to the Moon and Mars.

Research shows extended periods of time in micro-gravity reduces how hard the heart works, actually causing it to shrink!

“This is one of the things that essentially leads to remodeling of the heart that leads to some of these funny heart rhythms,” said Dr. Lindner. “And so one of the things that NASA has done is institute a very rigorous exercise program that essentially will counteract some of the negative effects of long duration microgravity. And those are things that will have to go on on the Artemis missions to Mars as well.”

Dr. Lindner says the goal is to keep them healthy while in flight and upon their return.

In addition to microgravity, astronauts will also deal with radiation, stress and the effects of sterile food.