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Understanding the effects of microgravity


Narrator:       This is Science Today. A team of students from the University of California, San Diego are helping NASA understand what happens to astronauts in microgravity, when blood floods upward and increases intercranial pressure. This can lead to long-term vision impairment. Dr. Alan Hargens, a professor of orthopedic surgery at the UCSD School of Medicine and a former NASA researcher, is faculty advisor on the project.

Hargens:        This all started when I got an email from NASA. So, it's the students who have to compete with their proposal and have the opportunity to fly on the parabolic flight out of Houston, Texas.

Narrator:       The students designed a set of experiments that mimic the circulatory system of the human brain, and it will measure intercranial pressures in microgravity while in parabolic flight.

Hargens:        NASA hopes that these experiments will shed some light on what happens to the pressures in space and then perhaps how to counteract that increase of intercranial pressure.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.