How Astronauts Stay Healthy in Space with Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
Space missions require astronauts to live in space for several years. Even a single mission can last for 2 to 4 years and during this tenure, the astronauts have to endure the risk of living in a totally different environment. As a result, they undergo many unexpected changes that are both physical and psychological in nature. However, astronauts are extensively trained to cope with their new environment and life in space. This makes them mentally prepared to a certain extent but the effect of long-term physical impact can lead to several health concerns that can be even fatal in nature.
Space missions expose astronauts to an environment of microgravity that severely affects their musculoskeletal system. Studies have proved that spending around 6 months in space can result in a loss of nearly 50% of the muscle mass. Besides muscle atrophy, there is also a high risk of diseases like osteoporosis, the reason being a steep fall in bone density which is a direct result of living in a zero-gravity environment. Research has also proved that in space the human body tends to lose the nutrients and minerals at a faster rate. This making the astronauts extremely vulnerable to various types of health issues like hyperkyphosis, hypertension, lack of coordination, and vision changes.
To tackle the health risks faced by astronauts, NASA has collaborated with various research institutes like TRISH (Translational Research Institute for Space Health) and AI-PHI (Precision Health Institute). AI-PHI is a leading research center that focuses on designing AI-powered medical solutions. The institute is a part of the University Of Hawaii Cancer Center. Scientists at these research centers are engaged in finding a solution to deal with various types of health risks faced by astronauts during their space flights. AI-PHI along with experts at UCSF and NASA has planned to develop special 3D scanners that can help them in monitoring body composition and bone density of astronauts in space. This monitoring equipment involves special technologies powered by Artificial Intelligence and is aimed at helping astronauts in monitoring and controlling various types of health concerns including muscle loss and bone damage. Since NASA is planning significant space missions like sending humans to Mars in the 2030s, the AI-based technologies are expected to play a key role in keeping the astronauts safe and healthy throughout the expedition and even after their return to earth.
The current research at AI-PHI is headed by Dr. John Shepherd, Ph.D. He is a renowned scientist and an expert in AI-based diagnostic procedures. The advanced studies on Artificial Intelligence conducted by Dr. Shepherd are also assisted by Dr. Peter Sadowski, Ph.D. He is also a co-founder of AI-PHI. The result of these advanced researches is expected to bring high-performing AI-powered diagnostic systems that can not only help humans in space but also on earth in monitoring and preventing a wide range of health problems. The studies are fully focused on dealing with numerous health hazards arising from issues like restricted diet, isolation, altered gravity fields, lack of sunlight, and exposure to radiation, lack of physical activity, and stress.