The US space agency has established a new institute charged with researching and developing innovative approaches to reduce risks to humans on long-duration exploration missions, including NASA’s “Journey to Mars”.
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 US space agency said in a statement.
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.
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Set up under the Translational Research Institute Cooperative Agreement, overseen by NASA’s Human Research Programme, the new institute is late to begin functioning from October 1.
NASA will join with Baylor College of Medicine in Houston to operate the new institute, the statement added.
Translational research is an interdisciplinary model of research that focuses on translating fundamental research concepts into practice, with appreciable health outcomes.
Translational research has the potential to move solutions into practical application much faster than traditional research approaches.
To that end, the NASA Translational Research Institute would 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 agency’s human exploration goals.
The institute also would 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.