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Musculoskeletal Modeling Component of the NASA Digital Astronaut ProjectThe NASA Digital Astronaut Project s (DAP) objective is to provide computational tools that support research of the physiological response to low gravity environments and analyses of how changes cause health and safety risks to the astronauts and to the success of the mission. The spaceflight risk associated with muscle atrophy is impaired performance due to reduced muscle mass, strength and endurance. Risks of early onset of osteoporosis and bone fracture are among the spaceflight risks associated with loss of bone mineral density. METHODS: Tools under development include a neuromuscular model, a biomechanical model and a bone remodeling model. The neuromuscular model will include models of neuromuscular drive, muscle atrophy, fiber morphology and metabolic processes as a function of time in space. Human movement will be modeled with the biomechanical model, using muscle and bone model parameters at various states. The bone remodeling model will allow analysis of bone turnover, loss and adaptation. A comprehensive trade study was completed to identify the current state of the art in musculoskeletal modeling. The DAP musculoskeletal models will be developed using a combination of existing commercial software and academic research codes identified in the study, which will be modified for use in human spaceflight research. These individual models are highly dependent upon each other and will be integrated together once they reach sufficient levels of maturity. ANALYSES: The analyses performed with these models will include comparison of different countermeasure exercises for optimizing effectiveness and comparison of task requirements and the state of strength and endurance of a crew member at a particular time in a mission. DISCUSSION: The DAP musculoskeletal model has the potential to complement research conducted on spaceflight induced changes to the musculoskeletal system. It can help with hypothesis formation, identification of causative mechanisms and supplementing small data samples.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Glenn Research Center
Document Type
Lewandowski, B. E.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Pennline, J. A.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Stalker, A. R.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Mulugeta, L.
(Universities Space Research Association Houston, TX, United States)
Myers, J. G.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
April 11, 2011
Subject Category
Aerospace Medicine
Report/Patent Number
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 516724.02.02.03
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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