NASA s expanding life science research on the space station with a new collection of investigations called GeneLAB along with a gorgeous new website, which takes a close look at cutting-edge biology experiments conducted in space.
For the first time the experiments will be thrown open to scientists around the world.
“Life science experiments flown in space have traditionally been accessible to only a few scientists,” says Marshall Porterfield, the director of Space Life and Physical Sciences in the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “But the campaign will make spaceflight data available to a global community of scientists for data mining long after the missions have ended, significantly increasing the science returns for years to come.”
Life science research in microgravity teaches us how space travel affects living organisms so that NASA can develop countermeasures to mitigate or cure the detrimental effects of space exposure on astronauts on long-duration missions.
It may also lead to discoveries about human diseases back on Earth.
“Instead of representing a particular piece of space hardware or equipment, or a single mission or study, geneLAB is a new research model that enables a wide range of science experiments that will seek to understand how exposure to spaceflight affects living issues at the biomolecular and genetic level,” says Porterfield,
“GeneLAB experiments will take advantage of new life science research technologies that enable the measurement of the biochemical and molecular networks that relate to the genome and gene expression in an integrated way to monitor how the biology is altered by exposure to space in low-Earth orbit at the complex systems level.”
Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.
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