CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – NASA is turning to the University of Illinois for help.

U of I’s Beckman Institute was recently awarded $1 million that will be used to research how to keep astronauts healthy during long space missions.

Professor Marni Boppart said astronauts can lose up to 20 pounds of muscle mass during space travel. She believes exercise-based therapy sessions can help to prevent muscle or recover it.

“We’ll try resistance exercise as well as endurance exercise,” Boppart said. “We’re going to collect the blood from these individuals and isolate the chemicals that we believe will be very helpful for astronauts in the future.”

The research might be helpful to more than just astronauts. Boppart said people with disabilities could benefit from have exercise therapy as well.