NASA has decided to explore the deep sea ecology on Earth before sending humans to explore the possible water resources on Mars in future. A team of 22 persons will take up the deep sea expedition to test spacewalk simulation, time delays in space communication and the effect of ketogenic (high-fat, low-carb) diet on astronauts.
As part of NASA’s Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO), they will reach the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean on June 18 and conduct these experiments for 10 days. They will dive from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, 10 km off the coast of Key Largo.
Essentially, they will experiment life at the bottom of the ocean in an environment of microgravity that astronauts experience in space. Joining the team is Dominic D’Agostino, an Associate Professor from the University of South Florida (USF) for his research conducted at the USF Hyperbaric Biomedical Research Laboratory (HBRL) on how extreme environments impact the human body.
D’ Augustino will be put on a ketogenic diet — a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet — that forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. He will be in a constant state of nutritional ketosis — a metabolic state in which your body burns fat rather than glucose as its primary fuel — which is proven to preserve the genome, thus protecting DNA.
This experiment is primodial for understanding the neurological risks during deep space travel beset with space radiation, lack of oxygen and stress due to congested space.
“No other crew members will be in this metabolic state, creating a baseline for how environmental factors impact the human body in such extreme conditions,” the university of south Florida said in a statement. Other members will collect data on gut microbiome, body composition, cognitive tasks, vision assessment, sleep quality and other effects on human body.