How does space travel affect your health? How do astronauts sleep in space? What do astronauts eat in space?  How do astronauts exercise in space?

These and other questions will be answered by current and former astronauts and scientists during a visit by nearly 200 students to the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) that will occur on April 23, 2015. The students, from the DeBakey High School for Health Professions, will participate in an event entitled, “STEM On-and-Off the Planet” as part of an overall program to encourage students to enter the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“Students who have already expressed an interest in the health professions will have the unique, up-close opportunity to tour the NSBRI’s Consolidated Research Facility (CRF),” said Dr. Amanda Hackler, Head of Career Development and Outreach at NSBRI and Assistant Professor, Center for Space Medicine (CSM) atBaylor College of Medicine (BCM). “Students will be able to talk directly with astronauts who have experienced what happens to the body in space and who can attest to the very real need for more scientific study of addressing health issues faced by space explorers.”

The students will then tour the CRF which includes a space suit and scientific equipment tested aboard the ISS. The facility also features an exhibit of the Mars 500 study, a simulated journey to Mars lasting 520 days.

“It is important for students to understand that the health issues facing humans in space are serious and that we are funding studies that not only will help keep our space explorers safe, but will translate to new kinds of treatment back here on Earth,” said Hackler. “To have the opportunity to talk directly with individuals who have spent time in space and who are pursuing this exciting area of medical study is invaluable.”

The DeBakey High School for Health Professions (HSHP) opened in 1972 and was the first of its kind in the nation. A magnet school of the Houston Independent School District, HSHP provides a rigorous and comprehensive pre-college program for students pursuing careers in medicine, health care, and/or the sciences.  Ninety-eight percent of HSHP’s graduates attain postsecondary education.

Established in 1997 through a NASA competition, NSBRI is a consortium of leading biomedical institutions including Baylor College of Medicine, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Harvard Medical School, The Johns Hopkins UniversityMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyMorehouse School of Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Rice UniversityTexas A&M UniversityUniversity of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, University of Pennsylvania Health System and University of Washington. NSBRI, a 501(c)(3) organization partnered with NASA, is studying the health risks related to long-duration spaceflight and developing the technologies and countermeasures needed for human space exploration missions. The Institute’s science, technology and education projects take place at approximately 60 institutions across the United States. For more information, please visit