NASA has established a new institute for research and development of innovative approaches to reduce risks to astronauts on long-duration exploration missions, including the journey to Mars.
Work under the Translational Research Institute Cooperative Agreement, overseen by NASA’s Human Research Programme, will begin on October 1. Translational research is an interdisciplinary model of research that focuses on translating fundamental research concepts into practice, with appreciable health outcomes. The NASA Translational Research Institute (NTRI) will implement a “bench-to-spaceflight” model, moving results or methods from laboratory experiments or clinical trials to point-of-care astronaut health and performance applications.
The goal of the research is to produce promising new approaches, treatments, countermeasures or technologies that have practical application to spaceflight. “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,” said Marshall Porterfield, NASA’s director of Space Life and Physical Sciences Research and Applications.
Translational research has the potential to move solutions into practical application much faster than traditional research approaches. To that end, the NTRI will maintain research leadership in translational human performance, biomedical, environmental, and cognitive and behavioural science, and foster greater involvement of the science community in accomplishing the US space agency’s human exploration goals.
The institute also will provide opportunities for scientists to gain experience in research laboratories, within and external to NASA, and apply their knowledge and expertise to reducing human exploration health and performance risks.