The human body’s circulatory system isn’t much of a mystery — when there’s gravity.

In outer space, body fluid doesn’t circulate the way it does on Earth. Instead, it may be rushing to the head and causing all sorts of issues, including impairing astronauts’ vision during and after their missions.

A Carolina senior and recent graduate are now trying to figure out why.

“The point of our study is to understand how this Vision Impairment and Intracranial Pressure syndrome works and exactly what’s going on with the fluid shift,” said Diana Dayal, who graduated in May with degrees in biology and economics. “This is the first study of its kind doing brain blood flow monitoring and cognitive testing together.”

Dayal and biomedical engineering senior Bobby Hazel are spending their summer working alongside researchers from NASA, academia and industry to better understand Vision Impairment and Intracranial Pressure and how it can be prevented. The project is part of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute’s Space Biomedical Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program, which provides hands-on lab opportunities for young scientists and engineers to access careers in human spaceflight.

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