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Monitoring Bone Health by Daily Load Stimulus Measurement during Lunar Missions (NCC958MA01603)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Skeletal physiology
Technology development
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

One of the key questions that remain unanswered as we prepare to send humans to other planetary surfaces is the degree to which living and exercising in these reduced gravity environments will provide an osteoprotective stimulus to prevent the loss of bone mineral density (BMD) that has been observed in microgravity. The concept of daily load stimulus is useful in this regard since it has the potential to estimate the "dose" of load to the lower extremities that will maintain skeletal integrity even in the setting of concurrent therapeutic drug and exercise countermeasures. Most observers believe that some form of supplementary exercise will be required activity on the moon, Mars, or nearby asteroid, but this will need to be optimized to provide the most efficient use of crew time. Given the continued loss of BMD observed in crewmembers after long-duration flights, this amount of loaded exercise is likely not enough to preserve an acceptable amount of bone strength.

The Specific Aims of the project were to:
1) Develop hardware based on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) technology that can unobtrusively monitor the accelerations applied to the body and interface with an ambulatory monitor.
2) Extend the Daily Load Stimulus Algorithm to account for recent developments in bone mechanobiology, to incorporate accelerometric signals, and to write software to perform this analysis in real-time.
3) Demonstrate the feasibility and validity of the approach in 1g, in 1/6g in the eZLS, and in another analog.
4) Integrate the hardware and software into a package suitable for flight development.

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Bone density

Data Information
Data Availability
Archive is complete. No data sets are available for this experiment. Please Contact LSDA if you know of available data for this investigation.

Bone mineral density - BMD
Real-time reporting

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

Human Research Program (HRP) Human Research Roadmap (HRR) Information
Crew health and performance is critical to successful human exploration beyond low Earth orbit. The Human Research Program (HRP) investigates and mitigates the highest risks to human health and performance, providing essential countermeasures and technologies for human space exploration. Risks include physiological and performance effects from hazards such as radiation, altered gravity, and hostile environments, as well as unique challenges in medical support, human factors, and behavioral health support. The HRP utilizes an Integrated Research Plan (IRP) to identify the approach and research activities planned to address these risks, which are assigned to specific Elements within the program. The Human Research Roadmap is the web-based tool for communicating the IRP content.

The Human Research Roadmap is located at:

+ Click here for information of how this experiment is contributing to the HRP's path for risk reduction.

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI)
Responsible NASA Representative
Institutional Support
National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI)