A USF researcher is participating in an underwater expedition simulating Mars’ environment.
The NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations 22 missions will conduct simulated spacewalks on the ocean floor, test time delays in communication and evaluate procedures for future space missions.
Dominic D’Agostino, associate professor in USF’s Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology, is a member of the four-person team. The team will spend 10 days in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary located off the coast of Key Largo starting June 18.
D’Agostino has researched how extreme environments impact the human body and plans to continue his research on the expedition.
One of the USF-patented methods of nutrition in extreme environments involves triggering the body to burn fat rather than glucose as its primary source of fuel. The hope is this method will help protect astronauts from neurological risks associated with space travel.
D’Agostino is the only one using this method to allow for comparison. Other crew members are from NASA and the European Space Agency.