National Aeronautics and Space Administration


About the Organization:

The research and technology that makes NASA’s programs possible touch our lives every day. Using NASA know-how, American companies have developed many products that directly affect our well-being. In the field of health and medicine, NASA’s research is especially welcome because many of the troublesome symptoms experienced by astronauts in space flight are similar to conditions that affect many women on Earth, such as osteoporosis. Researchers also have been able to apply technologies developed for the study of deep space to the study of our bodies.

NASA’s research is designed to teach us about space and about how to live and work in space. Its application, however, often hits much closer to home.

Certain physiological changes that occur in space also occur with aging: cardiovascular deconditioning, balance disorders, weakening bones and muscles, disturbed sleep, and depressed immune response. An important difference, however, is that these changes are reversible in astronauts. Gerontologists, biomedical and space life scientists are conducting research to increase under-standing of the basic mechanisms of aging and to increase the understanding of physiological deconditioning in space.

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Resources on Aging and Physical Activity:

The Study of Human Adaptation to Space Helps Us Understand Aging
Article on how gerontologists and space life scientists are collaborating to determine how people adapt to aging and to the virtual absence of gravity in space and to develop countermeasures where possible.