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Crew Member of ISS | by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center
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Crew Member of ISS

As the crew of the International Space Station prepared for the arrival of the sixth SpaceX resupply mission, science investigations continue into bone density and materials that could be used to build better computers.


NASA astronaut Terry Virts completed a calibration of the Bone Densitometer while preparing for the upcoming Rodent Research-2 investigation. The Bone Densitometer is an X-ray device the size of a standard microwave oven that can measure bone density, muscle and fat of mice while they are in orbit. The technology is being tested for possible use on human space travelers.


Crew members on long-duration space missions suffer bone density loss, which they try to prevent by exercising daily and eating healthy meals. Future missions lasting a year or more may require additional countermeasures to keep crew members healthy. Researchers are studying the effects of microgravity by evaluating mice flown in space and are using the results to develop treatments for bone density loss in space and on Earth. The Bone Densitometer will be used as a model for studying bone density loss in humans while in space, but verifying its capabilities will help researchers and biotech companies test new therapies, potentially benefiting millions of people who suffer from osteoporosis and other bone density-related ailments.

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Taken on March 1, 2015