Martha Vitaterna, deputy director of Northwestern University’s Center for Sleep and Circadian Biology, is a principal investigators on a team of Chicago researchers that is working with NASA to better understand risks of sending humans to Mars, reports WTTW.


“The big two worries in terms of looking at potential health impacts are the microgravity environment and the solar radiation, but there’s a lot of other factors associated with space flight,” Vitaterna said. “It’s very confined, very high-demand, sleep is very challenging. It’s not too comfortable. I’ve been told that you never fully habituate to the lack of gravity. So there are a lot of stresses associated with being in microgravity.”