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Bone Demineralization (M006)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Skeletal physiology
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

Bone demineralization is a biochemical process that weakens the skeletal system. Physicians have observed this degenerative process in humans during periods of inadequate calcium intake, immobilization such as bed rest, and other situations involving physical inactivity. This experiment investigated bone demineralization resulting from prolonged microgravity and immobilization associated with confinement in the Gemini and Apollo spacecrafts. The information gained about the effects of microgravity on the physiological integrity of the astronauts' bones would help researchers determine if corrective measures would be necessary during future long-duration space missions.

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Biomedical Research Office. Proceedings of the Second Annual Biomedical Research Conference. NASA Manned Spacecraft Center: Houston, Texas, 1966 Feb 17-18. NASA Technical Memorandum, NASA-TM-X-61984. [NTRS]

Mack PB, LaChance PL. Effects of recumbency and space flight on bone density. Am J Clin Nut. 1967 Nov; 20(11):1194-1205.[]

Mack PB, Vose GP, Vogt FB, LaChance PA. Chapter 43. Experiment M-6. Bone demineralization. In: Gemini Midprogram Conference Including Experiment Results, 1996 Feb 23-25: 407-415. NASA Special Publication, NASA SP-121. [NTRS]

Mack PB, Vose GP, Vogt FB, LaChance PA. Experiment M006. Bone demineralization. In: Zeitler EO and Rogers TG, comp. The Gemini Program Biomedical Sciences Experiments Summary. Sep 1: 45-85. NASA Technical Memorandum, NASA-TM-X-58074. [NTRS]

Mack PB. Radiographic bone densitometry. In: Progress in Development of Methods in Bone Densitometry, Washington, D.C. 1965 Mar 25-27; 31-46. NASA Special Publication, NASA SP-64.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Experiments for the GT-4 mission. NASA Program Gemini Working Paper No. 5023. NASA Technical Memorandum, NASA-TM-X-72148.

Rambaut PC, Dietlein LF, Vogel JM, Smith MC Jr. Comparative study of two direct methods of bone mineral measurement. Aerospace Med. 1972;(6):646-650.[]

Rambuat PC, Smith MC, Mack PB, Vogel JM. Skeletal Response. In: Biomedical Results of Apollo. Washington DC: National Aeronautics and Space Administration; 1975. NASA Special Publication SP-368. [NTRS]

Vogt FB. Bone density and calcium balance studies on Project Gemini. Texas Institute for Rehabilitation and Research: Houston, Texas, 1967. Contract No.: NSR 44-024-006. Sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Vose G. Review of roentgenographic bone demineralization studies of the Gemini space flights. Am J Roentgenol Radium Ther Nucl Med. 1974;121(1):1-4.[]

Bone and bones
Bone demineralization, pathologic
Densitometry, X-Ray

Data Information
Data Availability
Archive is complete. Some data sets are online.
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Some data sets are not publicly available but can be requested.
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Bone density : os calcis
Bone density : phalanx 4-2
Bone density : phalanx 5-2
Bone density : talus
Bone mass : capitate
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Apollo 7 10/11/1968 10/22/1968 11 days
Apollo 8 12/21/1968 12/27/1968 6 days
Gemini 4 06/03/1965 06/07/1965 4 days
Gemini 5 08/21/1965 08/29/1965 8 days
Gemini 7 12/04/1965 12/18/1965 14 days

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Johnson Space Center LSDA Office
Project Manager: Pamela A. Bieri
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
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