Five NASA Scientists Reflect on a Year of Turmoil

To biochemist Nitza Cintron, a member of what she describes as "the NASA family," the Challenger accident brought with it a great sense of loss. As chief of the 75-person Biomedical Laboratories at Johnson Space Center, Cintron believes the accident has had a greater impact on operational responsibilities—supporting shuttle flights—than on basic research. But there are lots of projects that can only be done in space which have been temporarily suspended. Some of Cintron's own researc

Ray Spangenburg
Jan 25, 1987
To biochemist Nitza Cintron, a member of what she describes as "the NASA family," the Challenger accident brought with it a great sense of loss. As chief of the 75-person Biomedical Laboratories at Johnson Space Center, Cintron believes the accident has had a greater impact on operational responsibilities—supporting shuttle flights—than on basic research. But there are lots of projects that can only be done in space which have been temporarily suspended.

Some of Cintron's own research into the atrial natriuretic factor (ANF) is stymied by the shutdown. Cintron, who joined the Center after completing her doctorate in biochemistry at Johns Hopkins Medical School in 1978, is looking for a possible connection between ANF and the human physiological response to space flight.

So far, she said, they've gotten some nice results. But she added, "researching in space takes time to get a good experimental basis, and we still don't have the...