NASA’s Space Biology Program will fund 31 proposals to help investigate how cells, plants and animals respond to changes in gravity.
These studies will result in new basic knowledge that provides a foundation on which other NASA researchers and engineers can build approaches and countermeasures to problems confronting human exploration of space, or that translate into new biological tools or applications on Earth. The proposals were in response to the research announcement “Research Opportunities in Space Biology.”
The selected proposals are from 21 institutions in 13 states and will receive a total of about $14.9 million during a one- to four-year period.
Space biologists examine and discover underlying mechanisms of adaptation to changes resulting from the spaceflight environment, such as altered gravity, stress, and radiation, and attempt to determine genetic, cellular and organismal mechanisms that regulate and sustain growth, metabolism, reproduction and development during that adaptation.
Selected experiments will begin immediately. Nine will be conducted aboard the International Space Station. Fourteen ground-based studies will develop hypotheses to test aboard the orbiting laboratory. Investigators new to space biology will collect preliminary data in eight proposals.
The Space Biology Program is managed by the Space Life and Physical Sciences Division in NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington.