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Seminar - Space Medicine

Technologies to maintain muscle and bone health during manned Mars missions

Welcome to one of KTH Space Center's monthly seminars, this time by Hans Berg.

Time: Wed 2023-09-27 15.15 - 16.00

Location: D2

Video link:

Language: English

Participating: Hans Berg

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Hans Berg

Hans is a muscle physiologist and orthopedic trauma surgeon at Karolinska University Hospital/Institute, and a recent guest professor at KTH, School of CBH, div Environmental physiology. He is a pioneer in space muscle atrophy and has introduced strength training as a cure for deconditioning. A current multi-disciplinary project at KTH-KI tries to build the first dedicated exercise system qualified for spaceships planned for Mars missions. 


Multiple organ systems suffer deconditioning from long-term microgravity and isolation. Numerous experimental studies have mapped out the magnitude and mechanisms for such changes, which if not counteracted will jeopardize human missions to remote planets such as Mars. Efforts have been made on developing different exercise models that could slow or prevent unwanted deconditioning of muscles, bones as well as heart and metabolic functions. 

Design problems with technologies and materials when engineering exercise equipment have often been underestimated, however, and equipment developed for the International Space Station (ISS) has not yet qualified for the spacecraft needed to go further out in space. Also, fundamental biomechanical challenges when performing “weight-lifting” in space are still not solved. Lastly, safety issues have to be considered, because if a bone fracture occurs, qualified treatment could be several months away.