Skip to page content Mission Information


Improving Kidney Stone Detection in Space Analogs (Postdoctoral Fellowship) (NCC958PF03505)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Organismal biology
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

Astronauts are at an increased risk of forming kidney stones because of dehydration and altered bone metabolism. A stone, while innocuous in the kidney, will often pass spontaneously causing debilitating pain that will affect mission operations. Even worse, large stones can become obstructing when they attempt to pass, resulting in a serious infection or even death without surgical intervention. The goal of this proposal is to develop an ultrasound imaging protocol to detect stones before they become dangerous. Early detection will allow for planned intervention through the administration of stone-dissolving medications, scheduled transport to Earth, or an ultrasound-based stone pushing technique in development at the University of Washington. The twinkling artifact is a rapid color change that can highlight hard objects, such as kidney stones, on a grey-scale ultrasound image; however, twinkling currently appears inconsistently on clinical ultrasound machines.

++ -- View more

Kidney calculi

Data Information
Data Availability
Archiving in progress. Data is not yet available for this experiment.

Kidney stones
Ultrasound twinkling

Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Ground 05/01/2009 In Progress

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI)
Responsible NASA Representative
Institutional Support
National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI)
Proposal Source
2013 NSBRI-RFA-13-01 Post