Various research groups and Institutes at the German Sport University Cologne have been involved in space health research during the last 25 years. As a result, in 2010 the Centre for Human Integrative Physiology in Space (CHIPS) has been launched to bring together experts from different disciplines and different institutes. Two main aims of the CHIPS have been named in a foundation declaration
(1) It has become increasingly clear in latter years that complex adaptational processes to living in extreme environments can no longer be considered singly under the individual specialist fields (motoric, cardiovascular and respiration physiology, endocrinology, muscle/bone physiology, neurophysiology, psychosomatic medicine etc.). Instead, an interdisciplinary, integrative approach is necessary in order to achieve a deeper understanding of the optimisation, preservation and the improvement of health aspects under the extreme conditions in space.
(2) Beside the fact that we are dealing with the human being living under extreme conditions, we need to be aware of the fact that space science research serves the human being on earth. Our research has to be grounded by the fact that it needs to be transferred into everyday life. Living in space, living under extreme conditions provides us with a time lapse of deconditioning of the human physiological and psychological systems and offers the opportunity to develop, foresee and counteract the degeneration of the human physiology in our civilized world and to stress the importance of exercise on physical and mental health.
This proposed research group aims to go along these lines. (1) Although single studies at the German Sport University are currently funded by the German Space Agency (DLR) the link between these studies must be intensified which is often not possible due to missing manpower. (2) By extending research questions and transferring results into everyday life, the relevance of space research becomes manifest with regard to general health aspects.