Robert Hienz, a Johns Hopkins medical researcher, is studying the effects of radiation on the brain of astronauts on future deep-space exploration missions, thanks to a $400,000 grant from NASA’s Human Research Program and its National Space Biomedical Research Institute.
Hienz, associate professor of behavioral biology, Johns Hopkins Medical School, and senior scientist for the Institutes for Behavior Resources, is continuing research he began in 2009 with previous grants from these NASA agencies.
Hienz says that NASA has identified three problems for humans on long-term space missions: bone and muscle deterioration, eyesight and radiation effects. A fourth potential problem is psycho-social, for astronauts who will be confined together in a small vehicle for several years in a row.
NASA requested proposals to study astronauts’ health and performance on long-term space flights. Of the 104 proposals received, it chose 29, for a total of $26 billion over a one- to three-year period.
Hienz’s proposal is to detect and prevent neurobehavioral vulnerability to space radiation.
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