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About this Research Topic

Manuscript Submission Deadline 20 February 2023

Human space exploration has resulted in extraordinary accomplishments and advancements in nearly six decades, from Yuri Gagarin's first spaceflight to the continuous human presence on the International Space Station. We are preparing to achieve even more by returning to the Moon and planning for a future journey to Mars. Although space and rocket technology has rapidly progressed (e.g., now we have reusable rockets), we must address many challenges before planning successful deep-space human exploration class missions or even shorter commercial spaceflights by non-professional astronauts. The space environment requires humans to live and operate under various hazards, e.g., radiation, sustained altered gravity fields, isolated/confined/extreme (ICE) conditions, altered microbiota, CO2 and O2, lack of fresh foods, etc. These stressors' negative impact on the crew's central nervous system (CNS), cognitive, and behavioral health could be additive, antagonistic, or synergistic, especially over long-duration missions that we do not know yet.

Brain reorganization occurs as an adaptive response to altered gravitational input (e.g., altered afferent and efferent signals). The brain also undergoes functional and structural changes related to fluid shifts in space. Also, based on available evidence, galactic cosmic radiation accelerates brain aging and neurodegenerative processes. Further, the Earth-based ICE environment (e.g., winter-over in Antarctica) has shown significant psychological consequences. Thus, brain changes induced by spaceflight hazards may significantly affect the crew's performance, and it may not be optimal for operations on a planetary surface or in the case of an emergency landing.

Despite the growing interest and research on these critical issues, potential long-lasting effects of spaceflight hazards are still under investigation, particularly on the CNS and behavior. Research on the impact of radiation, altered gravity, ICE, and other spaceflight stressors on the human brain/behavior is crucial for developing and testing effective countermeasures and the success of future human spaceflight missions. It also constitutes an opportunity to address scientific issues in a unique environment that will benefit human life on Earth. Analogous brain/behavioral changes occur on Earth in individuals with vestibular disorders, in patients suffering from neurological diseases, and in individuals undergoing, for example, immobilization, peripheral deafferentation, or radiotherapy.

The primary objective of the second volume of this Research Topic is to continue to collect original research, short communications, reviews, research protocols, case reports, opinion papers, and hypotheses on 1) studies in space crews, 2) studies in terrestrial space analogs, 3) Earth-based clinical research models relevant to spaceflight. We are particularly interested in manuscripts that present countermeasures against the harmful effects of spaceflight on the human brain/behavior.

Specifically, contributions on the following topics are welcome: spaceflight-associated CNS modifications; spaceflight-associated neuro-ocular syndrome (SANS); spaceflight associated cognitive/behavioral changes; CNS/cognitive/behavioral changes as studied through ground based space analogs (e.g., Head-Down Bed Rest, Parabolic Flights, Dry Immersion, Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation, Earth-based ICE environments, etc.), Earth-based clinical models (e.g., patients with vestibular disorders, patients undergoing radiation, etc.), spaceflight countermeasures (e.g., physical exercise, artificial gravity, GVS, evidence-based cognitive/behavioral training, diet, pharmacological and non-pharmacological countermeasures for space motion sickness, human factors aids like vibrotactile vests, etc.) for promoting brain health.





Topic Editor Dr. Donna R. Roberts is an advisory board member for Guerbet and GE Healthcare, and receives research funding from Guerbet.
Topic Editor Dr. Rahul Goel is consulting for a private company (all.health).
The other Topic Editors declare no competing interests with regard to the Research Topic subject.

Keywords: Space, Brain, Central Nervous System, Behavior, Performance


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Human space exploration has resulted in extraordinary accomplishments and advancements in nearly six decades, from Yuri Gagarin's first spaceflight to the continuous human presence on the International Space Station. We are preparing to achieve even more by returning to the Moon and planning for a future journey to Mars. Although space and rocket technology has rapidly progressed (e.g., now we have reusable rockets), we must address many challenges before planning successful deep-space human exploration class missions or even shorter commercial spaceflights by non-professional astronauts. The space environment requires humans to live and operate under various hazards, e.g., radiation, sustained altered gravity fields, isolated/confined/extreme (ICE) conditions, altered microbiota, CO2 and O2, lack of fresh foods, etc. These stressors' negative impact on the crew's central nervous system (CNS), cognitive, and behavioral health could be additive, antagonistic, or synergistic, especially over long-duration missions that we do not know yet.

Brain reorganization occurs as an adaptive response to altered gravitational input (e.g., altered afferent and efferent signals). The brain also undergoes functional and structural changes related to fluid shifts in space. Also, based on available evidence, galactic cosmic radiation accelerates brain aging and neurodegenerative processes. Further, the Earth-based ICE environment (e.g., winter-over in Antarctica) has shown significant psychological consequences. Thus, brain changes induced by spaceflight hazards may significantly affect the crew's performance, and it may not be optimal for operations on a planetary surface or in the case of an emergency landing.

Despite the growing interest and research on these critical issues, potential long-lasting effects of spaceflight hazards are still under investigation, particularly on the CNS and behavior. Research on the impact of radiation, altered gravity, ICE, and other spaceflight stressors on the human brain/behavior is crucial for developing and testing effective countermeasures and the success of future human spaceflight missions. It also constitutes an opportunity to address scientific issues in a unique environment that will benefit human life on Earth. Analogous brain/behavioral changes occur on Earth in individuals with vestibular disorders, in patients suffering from neurological diseases, and in individuals undergoing, for example, immobilization, peripheral deafferentation, or radiotherapy.

The primary objective of the second volume of this Research Topic is to continue to collect original research, short communications, reviews, research protocols, case reports, opinion papers, and hypotheses on 1) studies in space crews, 2) studies in terrestrial space analogs, 3) Earth-based clinical research models relevant to spaceflight. We are particularly interested in manuscripts that present countermeasures against the harmful effects of spaceflight on the human brain/behavior.

Specifically, contributions on the following topics are welcome: spaceflight-associated CNS modifications; spaceflight-associated neuro-ocular syndrome (SANS); spaceflight associated cognitive/behavioral changes; CNS/cognitive/behavioral changes as studied through ground based space analogs (e.g., Head-Down Bed Rest, Parabolic Flights, Dry Immersion, Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation, Earth-based ICE environments, etc.), Earth-based clinical models (e.g., patients with vestibular disorders, patients undergoing radiation, etc.), spaceflight countermeasures (e.g., physical exercise, artificial gravity, GVS, evidence-based cognitive/behavioral training, diet, pharmacological and non-pharmacological countermeasures for space motion sickness, human factors aids like vibrotactile vests, etc.) for promoting brain health.





Topic Editor Dr. Donna R. Roberts is an advisory board member for Guerbet and GE Healthcare, and receives research funding from Guerbet.
Topic Editor Dr. Rahul Goel is consulting for a private company (all.health).
The other Topic Editors declare no competing interests with regard to the Research Topic subject.

Keywords: Space, Brain, Central Nervous System, Behavior, Performance


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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