Maintaining musculoskeletal health during long-duration spaceflight is crucial for ensuring both mission success and full skeletal recovery upon returning to earth.
The damaging effects of microgravity on the soft tissues of the knee and hip joints remain undefined. There is considerable evidence that soft tissue damage in these joints can occur with reduced loading.
The degradation of the hip and knee joint during prolonged spaceflight has the potential to cause arthritis, debilitating joint pain and impaired mobility and reduced the astronaut’s quality of life upon return to earth.
Our laboratory is funded by NASA to:
- Investigate how unloading during spaceflight can lead to overall degradation of the knee and hip joints
- Identify if this degradation can be recovered using aerobic and resistance exercise countermeasures
To address these aims, we will send mice to the International Space Station for a period of 30 days and then identify both joint damage and recovery after landing.