The Largest Spaceflight Isolation Analog In History Is Underway

COVID-19--The largest isolation study in history: the value of shared learnings from spaceflight analogs, Nature (Open source)

"The world is currently experiencing the largest isolation experiment in history. In an attempt to slow down the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic numerous countries across the world have been shutting down economies, education, and public life. Governments have mandated strict regulations of quarantine and social distancing in an unprecedented manner. The effects of these measures on brain, behavior, neuro-humoral and immunological responses in humans are largely unknown. Life science research for space exploration has a long history in using high-fidelity spaceflight analogs to better understand the effect of prolonged isolation and confinement on genes, molecules, cells, neural circuits, and physiological systems to behavior. We here propose to leverage the extensive experience and data from these studies and build a bridge between spaceflight research and clinical settings to foster transdisciplinary approaches to characterize the neurobehavioral effects on the immune system and vice versa. These approaches are expected to develop innovative and efficient health screening tools, diagnostic systems, and treatments to mitigate health risks associated with isolation and confinement on Earth and during future exploratory spaceflight missions."

Keith's note: For NASA: This week's NASA Spaceline just came out and this article is listed. DLR and ESA supported it and IBMP and NASA data were used - so this is an international effort. Not that the ISS was just waiting for COVID-19 to happen so as to justify its existence, but there are some real parallels between LEO and deep space exploration and the way that people are currently working in isolation on Earth due to COVID-19. If you want to make the ISS seen as being relevant to real world issues (and vice versa) then making more prominent mention of research space medicine/space biology such as this is an option you might consider.

Everyone on Earth is participating in a long duration space travel isolation analog to some extent. We all wish it would end, but since we're going to be in this situation for quite some time to come perhaps there is something that NASA can offer to foster an understanding of what people in isolation are going through - and that people going through this experience may have something to offer to NASA in response.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on October 23, 2020 2:33 PM.

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