Computational Models of Muscle Physiology (Human Spaceflight)

Changes in the structural and functional properties of Skeletal muscle have been observed after exposure to a microgravity environment (summarized in the muscle risk evidence report, available at http://humanresearchroadmap.nasa.gov/evidence/reports/Muscle.pdf?rnd=0…). However, the relationships between the duration of exposure to microgravity, the amount of in - flight exercise, muscle changes, and performance levels are not well understood.  Understanding these relationships is particularly important for long-duration LDEMs to destinations such as Mars and asteroids, where the spacecraft may have limited space and hardware for exercise and the astronauts may be expected to perform demanding exploration tasks. Therefore, NASA has been actively engaged in novel research and technology development endeavors to address this critical knowledge gap.

The current solicitation requests proposals to develop numerical algorithms or models that can predict changes in properties of lower body skeletal muscles as a function of (1) time in microgravity and (2) a predetermined amount of in-flight exercise stimulus.  The two algorithms must also be integrated to predict changes in musculature function after predetermined amounts of time have been spent in space and in performing exercise countermeasures. The model(s) must also be developed with the capability to integrate with OpenSim biomechanics simulation software (Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA) to simulate the response of muscle to exercise and gravitational unloading. The model(s) must also be quantitatively verified and validated following the standard of NASA-STD-7009 (https://standards.nasa.gov/documents/detail/3315599) or equivalent. Furthermore, documentation must be provided that clearly captures the modeling approaches used, as well as a model operations guide. Finally, the investigation team must also be willing to provide the software source code to NASA to make available as an open-source product.

 

Required deliverables:

  • Numerical algorithms or models that can predict changes in muscle properties as a function of (1) time in microgravity and (2) a predetermined amount of in-flight exercise stimulus.
  • Documentation that clearly captures the modeling approaches used, as well as a model operations guide.
  • Provide the software source code to NASA to make available as an open-source product.

 

Please note that a maximum of $750,000 ($250,000/year) for three years is available.

 

Full details of the above opportunity, among other opportunities, can be found in Appendix A of the NASA Research Announcement (NRA) titled, “Human Exploration Research Opportunities (HERO)” NNJ15ZSA001N.

Appendix A of the HERO NRA and associated documentation can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/2015-Flagship

The HERO NRA including all open appendices is available through the NASA Research Opportunities homepage at: http://tinyurl.com/NASA-HERO-2015.

 

Appendix A Step-1 proposals are due on September 4, 2015.

Invited Appendix A Step-2 proposals are due on November 23, 2015.

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