News Release Article from  Canadian Space Agency

Simulating space on Earth to help protect astronauts

Four new experiments will benefit both space travellers and Earthlings

March 8, 2016 - Longueuil, Quebec - Canadian Space Agency

Four new Canadian studies in the field of space health research have received funding from the Government of Canada to reduce health risks for astronauts on long-term missions. These experiments will simulate space conditions on Earth to investigate the physiological and psychosocial adaptation to space.

These research projects may also have a positive impact on health and the quality of life here on Earth. Many of the physiological changes that astronauts undergo in space are similar to problems related to aging or physical inactivity. The psychosocial effects of long-term space travel are also comparable to those experienced in remote work environments, isolated communities and among shut-ins.

Quick facts

  • The Canadian Space Agency is investing a total of $1.7 million in these studies.
  • Workers who spend a winter season at an Antarctica research stations experience isolation similar to what astronauts experience during long-term missions to the International Space Station. They are confined with a limited group of people far from their families and normal social and health support networks.
  • Subjects taking part in studies at the MEDES facilities will spend 60 days confined to an inclined bed with their heads at an angle six degrees lower than the body. This produces some of the same effects on the body as weightlessness in space.

Quotes

"Today's investment is a great demonstration of how experiments that help us understand the impacts of space travel on humans can benefit us here on Earth. Not only will these studies help us better ensure our astronauts stay healthy as they explore space, they will help expand our knowledge of health issues and drive innovations that could improve the lives of Canadians across the country."

- The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

"Space science often trickles down to our daily lives. We are proud to support this scientific research that will deepen our knowledge of the effects of longer missions on astronauts, and can improve our understanding of the effects of prolonged isolation or physical inactivity on the body and mind."

- The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science

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