Protecting the Brain during Spaceflights Beyond Low Earth Orbit
Ajitkumar P. Mulavara
12-1pm, Room 33-206
Zoom link: https://mit.zoom.us/j/96531308383
Evidence obtained during spaceflight and from terrestrial analogs of spaceflight conditions suggests that astronauts’ behavioral health and performance could be compromised during future exploration spaceflight missions. Spaceflight stressors may interact synergistically and increase the overall risk to the health and performance of the astronaut. The Combined Behavioral Stressors (CBS) project is focused on characterizing effects of combined spaceflight hazards that may collectively affect the astronauts’ central nervous system and subsequently, their cognition, behavior, performance, and potentially their long-term well-being. Data will be presented showing spaceflight-induced changes to the structure and function of the brain, and to operational performance. This interdisciplinary research on the ‘brain in space’ can help elucidate the potential interactions of spaceflight hazards and how they may impact operational performance during and after spaceflight.
Dr. Ajitkumar Mulavara is the project scientist for the CBS project. Working for KBR, he supports the NASA Human Research Programs’ Human Factors and Behavioral Performance Element at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. Dr. Mulavara is a neuroscientist with a background in biomedical engineering. His work characterizes and mitigates the risks to the central nervous system associated with simultaneous exposure to spaceflight hazards including space radiation, isolation and confinement, and altered gravity.