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News Article | October 30, 2015
Site: www.techtimes.com

Six Russian women have climbed into a spaceship mock-up to test how an all-female crew would interact on a round-trip mission to the moon. The women, all volunteers, will spend 8 days in a small suite of rooms at the Institute of Biomedical Problems in Moscow, known for its studies on the physical and psychological effect on humans of space travel. A similar experiment in 2010 saw six international volunteers - all male, in this instance - locked into a similar environment for 520 days to simulate a mission to Mars and back. The new project will help Russian women catch up after almost 40 years of male-dominated space activities, officials said, which included long-term stays aboard the International Space Station for male cosmonauts. "There's never been an all-female crew on the ISS," said the supervisor of the experiment, Sergei Ponomaryov. "We consider the future of space belongs equally to men and women and unfortunately we need to catch up a bit after a period when unfortunately there haven't been too many women in space." Russia is reported to be considering a manned - scratch that, crewed - mission to the moon in 2029, with a spacecraft for the mission already under construction and aiming for a first test flight in 2021. "It will be interesting to see how well [the women] get on with each other, and how well they are able to perform tasks," Ponomaryov says. "We believe women might not only be no worse than men at performing certain tasks in space, but actually better." The six women in the test, all of whom have a background in either biophysics or medicine, were narrowed down from a field of candidates after weeks of rigorous testing. During the simulated flight, the crew is expected to conduct around 30 scientific experiments. Doctors and psychologists will monitor the crew around the clock, using cameras installed in the mock spacecraft. The volunteer crew also includes a doctor and a psychologist. The experiment would be particularly interesting in terms of psychology, institute director Igor Ushakov said. "I'd like to wish you a lack of conflicts, even though they say that in one kitchen, two housewives find it hard to live together," he said. Russia sent the first woman into space in 1963 when Valentina Tereshkova orbited the earth, but sent its fourth female cosmonaut, Yelena Serova, into space just last year.


News Article | October 28, 2015
Site: www.techtimes.com

Russians are aiming to be the first to send animals to Mars, and are training monkeys to be ready for a mission to the red planet by 2017. Russian scientists have been working on training monkeys three hours a day in preparation for the possibility of sending them on space missions. Training was held everyday at the Institute of Biomedical Problems in Moscow, where four rhesus macaques are being taught to use a joystick to hit specific targets indicated by a cursor. If the monkeys are successful, they are rewarded with a sip of juice. The monkeys were selected based on their cognitive thinking skills and learning abilities. "What we are trying to do is to make them as intelligent as possible so we can use them to explore space beyond our orbit," said Inessa Kozlovskaya, the leader of the team responsible for teaching the monkeys. Once the monkeys are successful in learning how to operate the controls, the next phase would involve solving simple mathematical problems and simple puzzles. The scientists are hoping that the animals will be ready to perform tasks related to their mission for space by 2017. There is a long history of animals taking part in space missions. Long before humans made it to space, the US and Russia have been using animals in order to test how long a living organism can go outside Earth and return safely. One of the first monkeys to be launched into the cosmos, Albert I, a rhesus monkey, was onboard a V-2 Blossom on June 1948. He and his predecessors, Albert II, III and IV all unfortunately died on impact. It will be years later, on 1951, when a monkey named Yorick would become the first monkey to live through a space flight. Even after that bit of success, survival rates of animals on space remained relatively low for a long time. This, and the way animals are trained and handled for space missions, is what greatly bothers animal activist groups. Members of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) pointed out that space missions are already difficult for humans, which makes it even more so for the animals that don't have a clue of what they're really doing. "They're being strapped down into these capsules. It's terrifying for them," said Justin Goodman, director of lab investigations at PETA. "They don't understand what's going on." Even until now, NASA is continuing to study how humans can handle long term space travel on humans. The agency hopes that the findings of these studies will help the US land on Mars by 2030.


Chernikova A.,Institute of Biomedical Problems | Baevsky R.,Institute of Biomedical Problems
Proceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC | Year: 2014

Projects, related to interplanetary missions, are developed intensively. Humans are able to live and work in microgravity without significant changes in basic vital systems. It is important precondition for successful implementation of these plans. Long-term studies during and after long stays on orbital stations did not reveal any abnormalities that could prevent the gradual increase in the duration of space flights. However, the developing of principles and instruments for dynamic assessing and monitoring of health status remains relevant. A similar problem is also facing the Earth medicine, where there are practically no means for controlling functional conditions in healthy subjects. The concept about role of cardiovascular system as indicator of adaptive abilities, since it provides adaptive reactions to the environment, was introduced in space medicine. Based on this concept prenosological approach considers health as adaptation abilities, that allows us to evaluate and predict its possible changes by the level of functionality and degree of regulatory systems stress. Applied to long-term space flights, we have proposed previously the concept of adaptive risk and the method for its assessment according to heart rate variability (HRV) analysis. This method has been tested in space investigations (ECG at orbital station "Mir", 39 cosmonauts, experiments "Pulse", "Pneumocard" and "Sonocard" in 27 cosmonauts in Russian ISS segment) and in terrestrial project "Mars-500" (6 members of the 'Martian' crew and 120 subjects in parallel studies). The analysis of experimental data confirmed a major role of autonomic regulation in adaptive reactions of the human body. When carrying out functional tests (the deep breathing test and orthostatic test) it was demonstrated that HRV decreasing is associated with reduced functional abilities and increased adaptation risk. During readaptation after space flight it is particularly evident in the postural tolerance (orthostatic tachycardia). By the results of "Mars-500" project, adaptive risk increases accordingly to workloads of the crew and the environmental loads in people living in different climatic and geographical conditions. The obtained results have also revealed that the adaptive responses of healthy subjects both in space and on Earth are characterized by pronounced individuality. One of the most pressing problems now is to design further the concept of adaptation risks and preventive approach to health assessment towards the developing of criteria and instruments for determining individual norms. We propose some new approaches to take into account individual differences which will allow more surely assess autonomic status and health.


Shtemberg A.S.,Institute of Biomedical Problems | Ushakov I.B.,Institute of Biomedical Problems
Proceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC | Year: 2014

Our experiments focused on combined effects of gamma-radiation and tail-suspension (TS) of varying duration showed that, similarly to other forms of motor deprivation, TS results in a number of disorders in reproduction of conditional reflexes depending on stage of the general adaptation syndrome TS falls on, while subsequent irradiation makes these disorders worse. Data of the first in the world experiment dedicated to the synchronous combined effect of prolonged (30 days) fractionated gamma-irradiation and tail-suspension on discriminative learning and turnover of monoamines and their metabolites in different structures of rat's brain evidenced that exposure to these factors (prolonged fractionated gamma-radiation, TS, and simultaneous action of both) as a ground model of spaceflight effects affect little the cognitive function of animals which agrees well with feebly marked changes in concentrations of monoamines in the brain structures responsible for cognitive, emotional and motivational behaviors. Investigations of the combined effect of 30-d TS and 8 g on the discriminative learning of mice and concentrations of monoamines and metabolites in their brain structures suggested a more rapid formation of the motor behavior stereotype as a key component of the discriminative learning with the use of food rewards.


Ogneva I.V.,Moscow State University | Gnyubkin V.,University of Lyon | Laroche N.,University of Lyon | Maximova M.V.,Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Applied Physiology | Year: 2015

Altered external mechanical loading during spaceflights causes negative effects on muscular and cardiovascular systems. The aim of the study was estimation of the cortical cytoskeleton statement of the skeletal muscle cells and cardiomyocytes. The state of the cortical cytoskeleton in C57BL6J mice soleus, tibialis anterior muscle fibers, and left ventricle cardiomyocytes was investigated after 30-day 2-g centrifugation ("2-g"group) and within 12 h after its completion ("2-g + 12-h" group). We used atomic force microscopy for estimating cell's transverse stiffness, Western blotting for measuring protein content, and RT-PCR for estimating their expression level. The transverse stiffness significantly decreased in cardiomyocytes (by 16%) and increased in skeletal muscles fibers (by 35% for soleus and by 29% for tibialis anterior muscle fibers) in animals of the 2-g group (compared with the control group). For cardiomyocytes, we found that, in the 2-g + 12-h group, α-actinin-1 content decreased in the membranous fraction (by 27%) and increased in cytoplasmic fraction (by 28%) of proteins (compared with the levels in the 2-g group). But for skeletal muscle fibers, similar changes were noted for α-actinin-4, but not for α-actinin-1. In conclusion, we showed that the different isoforms of α-actinins dissociate from cortical cytoskeleton under increased/decreased of mechanical load. Copyright © 2015 by the American Physiological Society.


News Article | November 6, 2015
Site: phys.org

The six-woman crew climbed into a grounded space capsule last week to imitate a lunar flight and test the effects of confinement and stress that come with space travel. While Russia's space medicine center in Moscow has conducted similar experiments in the past, including one several years ago in which six males were locked up for 500 days to model a flight to Mars, this is the first time the crew was all female. At least one of the women from the crew hopes to become a cosmonaut in the future. "Of course I want to go into space," said Inna Novinova. "This was an invaluable experience both in methods and isolation," that come with space flight, she said. Speculation swirled in the Russian media about whether they would be able to survive without males or cosmetics for a week. The women assured reporters it was possible. Asked whether she missed the comforts of regular life, such as showering and sweets, while in confinement, crewmember Anna Kussmaul told reporters she was more concerned about her family. "Not knowing what was going on in their lives for eight days bothered me a lot more than not having shampoo, or chocolate," Kussmaul said. The women were not allowed to take their cellphones with them and communicated exclusively with the medicine center's command crew which monitored all of their activities and conversations. "To those who said we'd end up ripping each other's hair out: we didn't even come close to that," Daria Komissarova told the dozens of journalists that greeted the women as they exited the space capsule installed at the Institute of Biomedical Problems, part of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Anna Kussmaul exits a mock-up spaceship after an eight-day imitation flight to the moon, in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The six-woman crew climbed into a grounded space capsule last week to imitate a lunar flight and test the effects of confinement and stress that come with space travel. While Russia's space medicine center has conducted similar experiments in the past, this is the first time the crew was all female. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin) Daria Komissarova exits a mock-up spaceship after an eight-day imitation flight to the moon, in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The six-woman crew climbed into a grounded space capsule last week to imitate a lunar flight and test the effects of confinement and stress that come with space travel. While Russia's space medicine center has conducted similar experiments in the past, this is the first time the crew was all female. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)


News Article | October 29, 2015
Site: www.techtimes.com

Now Russia is gearing up to plant its permanent base in the moon. Roscosmos, the country’s space agency, announced in a press briefing in Moscow that it is targeting the year 2029 for its manned lunar mission. Last Wednesday, it was reported that six Russian women climbed into a mock spaceship to start an experiment on how an all-female crew would interact on a journey to the moon and back. The volunteers will live in a simulated environment at Institute of Biomedical Problems in Moscow for eight days to experience space travel. The Luna 25 Iander is targeted to land near the moon’s south pole Aitken crater, often called the “far side” due to its totally different appearance: unlike other lunar regions, it has constantly dark areas believed to provide “icy prisons” with water and other chemicals as supplies for the mission. Prior to Luna 25’s takeoff, the nation will send an unmanned mission to the south pole of the moon for investigation, with the rocket believed to be launched in 2021. First docking with the International Space Station (ISS), the mission will proceed to speed away to the lunar south pole. The European Space Agency is also onboard the mission and plans to work with Russia for the manned lunar mission. The Luna 27 is expected to be the lander for this potential partnership. Bérengère Houdou, heading the moon exploration team at the European Space Research and Technology Center of ESA, revealed their “ambition to have European astronauts on the moon.” “There are currently discussions at international level going on,” he confirmed about the much-awaited return of man to the moon. ESA announced its projected lunar colony with Russia earlier in October, as highlighted by the use of 3D printer to build a structure on lunar soil. The moon’s soil is poised to be the main component in building these “homes.” Incorporating regolith or lunar soil as the main component of the building will allow ESA, Russia, and other space mission participants to save time and money due to eliminated “space freight.” They would only need to ship the machines for printing the “walls” of the structure. Russia also expressed interest in being in talks with China in creating a permanent space station to mount future space missions. The last human to walk on the moon’s surface was Eugene Cernan was decades ago, in 1972. Part of the objectives of current lunar missions are exploring technologies in setting up colonies on the moon or Mars. One possibility is erecting gas stations that convert lunar water into rocket fuel, or a combination of oxygen and hydrogen.


News Article | November 7, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

From a geographical point of view, the Caucasus is far from an island or even a peninsula, being a relatively big mountainous region appearing as a fence at the border of Europe and Asia, situated between the Black and the Caspian seas. However, a study into the chromosome structure of mosquito larvae of the species Glyptotendipes salinus, living by a saltwater lake in the foothills of the Caucasus, suggests that the region could be imagined as an "island" in the "sea" of steppes. Scientists Dr Mukhamed Karmokov, Tembotov Institute of Ecology of Mountain territories, Russian Academy of Science, and Dr Azamat Akkizov, Institute of Biomedical Problems, RAS, and Center of Medico-Ecological Researches, have their paper, where they describe the Caucasian population of the species, published in the open access journal Comparative Cytogenetics. Earlier, it has been known that in the Tambukan Lake, located at the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains, lives at least one of the representatives of the genus Glyptotendipes, more precisely, the species G. salinus. Actually, the process of studying the fauna of the genus in the Caucasus region has just began and many questions have remained unclear. During their research, the authors collected a sufficient amount of larvae of G. salinus that made it possible to study the chromosome structure, rearrangements and peculiarities of the Caucasian population of the species. In addition, the authors tried to understand how the population relates to the previously studied ones, living in the Altai region of Russia and Kazakhstan. Researchers found interesting, some of them even striking, peculiarities in the chromosome structure and morphology of the larvae from Caucasus. Namely, they found four new chromosome rearrangements, likely unique for the Caucasus. Also, some of the chromosome characters were most similar to the mosquitoes from Altai, while others -- to the population in Kazakhstan. The most curious difference of the Caucasian larvae in comparison to data from earlier studies was that they were twice as short. In conclusion, the authors note that from the obtained data it could be deduced that that the Caucasian population had undergone a significant divergence, or even that it represents a subspecies. Also, it turns out that the Caucasus itself is a relatively isolated and complex region in terms of microevolution. "The Caucasus, in some sense, can be imagined as a relatively isolated territory, a special place, where evolution has made some unexpected twists," they say. Karmokov MKh, Akkizov AY (2016) Karyotype characteristics, larval morphology and chromosomal polymorphism peculiarities of Glyptotendipes salinus Michailova, 1983 (Diptera, Chironomidae) from Tambukan Lake, Central Caucasus. Comparative Cytogenetics 10(4): 571-585. https:/


News Article | November 9, 2016
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

From a geographical point of view, the Caucasus is far from an island or even a peninsula, being a relatively big mountainous region appearing as a fence at the border of Europe and Asia, situated between the Black and the Caspian seas. However, a study into the chromosome structure of mosquito larvae of the species Glyptotendipes salinus, living by a saltwater lake in the foothills of the Caucasus, suggests that the region could be imagined as an "island" in the "sea" of steppes. Scientists Dr Mukhamed Karmokov, Tembotov Institute of Ecology of Mountain territories, Russian Academy of Science, and Dr Azamat Akkizov, Institute of Biomedical Problems, RAS, and Center of Medico-Ecological Researches, have their paper, where they describe the Caucasian population of the species, published in the open access journal Comparative Cytogenetics. Earlier, it has been known that in the Tambukan Lake, located at the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains, lives at least one of the representatives of the genus Glyptotendipes, more precisely, the species G. salinus. Actually, the process of studying the fauna of the genus in the Caucasus region has just began and many questions have remained unclear. During their research, the authors collected a sufficient amount of larvae of G. salinus that made it possible to study the chromosome structure, rearrangements and peculiarities of the Caucasian population of the species. In addition, the authors tried to understand how the population relates to the previously studied ones, living in the Altai region of Russia and Kazakhstan. Researchers found interesting, some of them even striking, peculiarities in the chromosome structure and morphology of the larvae from Caucasus. Namely, they found four new chromosome rearrangements, likely unique for the Caucasus. Also, some of the chromosome characters were most similar to the mosquitoes from Altai, while others -- to the population in Kazakhstan. The most curious difference of the Caucasian larvae in comparison to data from earlier studies was that they were twice as short. In conclusion, the authors note that from the obtained data it could be deduced that that the Caucasian population had undergone a significant divergence, or even that it represents a subspecies. Also, it turns out that the Caucasus itself is a relatively isolated and complex region in terms of microevolution. "The Caucasus, in some sense, can be imagined as a relatively isolated territory, a special place, where evolution has made some unexpected twists," they say.


From a geographical point of view, the Caucasus is far from an island or even a peninsula, being a relatively big mountainous region appearing as a fence at the border of Europe and Asia, situated between the Black and the Caspian seas. However, a study into the chromosome structure of mosquito larvae of the species Glyptotendipes salinus, living by a saltwater lake in the foothills of the Caucasus, suggests that the region could be imagined as an "island" in the "sea" of steppes. Scientists Dr Mukhamed Karmokov, Tembotov Institute of Ecology of Mountain territories, Russian Academy of Science, and Dr Azamat Akkizov, Institute of Biomedical Problems, RAS, and Center of Medico-Ecological Researches, have their paper, where they describe the Caucasian population of the species, published in the open access journal Comparative Cytogenetics. Earlier, it has been known that in the Tambukan Lake, located at the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains, lives at least one of the representatives of the genus Glyptotendipes, more precisely, the species G. salinus. Actually, the process of studying the fauna of the genus in the Caucasus region has just began and many questions have remained unclear. During their research, the authors collected a sufficient amount of larvae of G. salinus that made it possible to study the chromosome structure, rearrangements and peculiarities of the Caucasian population of the species. In addition, the authors tried to understand how the population relates to the previously studied ones, living in the Altai region of Russia and Kazakhstan. Researchers found interesting, some of them even striking, peculiarities in the chromosome structure and morphology of the larvae from Caucasus. Namely, they found four new chromosome rearrangements, likely unique for the Caucasus. Also, some of the chromosome characters were most similar to the mosquitoes from Altai, while others—to the population in Kazakhstan. The most curious difference of the Caucasian larvae in comparison to data from earlier studies was that they were twice as short. In conclusion, the authors note that from the obtained data it could be deduced that that the Caucasian population had undergone a significant divergence, or even that it represents a subspecies. Also, it turns out that the Caucasus itself is a relatively isolated and complex region in terms of microevolution. "The Caucasus, in some sense, can be imagined as a relatively isolated territory, a special place, where evolution has made some unexpected twists," they say. Explore further: Europe, Siberia and in between: Caucasian populations of non-biting midges More information: Mukhamed Karmokov et al, Karyotype characteristics, larval morphology and chromosomal polymorphism peculiarities of Glyptotendipes salinus Michailova, 1983 (Diptera, Chironomidae) from Tambukan Lake, Central Caucasus, Comparative Cytogenetics (2016). DOI: 10.3897/compcytogen.v10i4.9400

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