Recently in the Gravitational Biology Category

The rhythms of activity in all biological organisms, both plants and animals, are closely linked to the gravitational tides created by the orbital mechanics of the Sun-Earth-Moon system.

Microbiologists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory are preparing experimental samples of fungi to send for a ride around the moon tentatively scheduled for later in 2021 or early 2022.

Humans have taken spiders into space more than once to study the importance of gravity to their web-building. What originally began as a somewhat unsuccessful PR experiment for high school students has yielded the surprising insight that light plays a larger role in arachnid orientation than previously thought

Plants are quicker to react and more sensitive than you might think - they can detect light changes in a fraction of a second and can bend towards light sources within minutes - and they respond equally fast to gravity.

If you tilt a plant, it will alter its growth to bend back upwards. But how does it detect the inclination? With cellular clinometers: cells filled with microscopic grains of starch called statoliths.

How do plants know which way is up? This might seem like an obvious question, but how exactly does a plant know which way to grow its roots and which way to grow towards the Sun?

In a study published in PLOS ONE, researchers led by Deborah Kimbrell, Ph.D., at UC Davis and their collaborators, studied how microorganisms may alter fruit flies' immunity in space and in hypergravity, or increased gravity. The article is titled "Toll Mediated Infection Response Is Altered by Gravity and Spaceflight in Drosophila."

NASA and the Russian Institute of Biomedical Problems, Moscow, are collaborating on a space biology mission aboard an unmanned Russian biosatellite to understand better the mechanisms of how life adapts to microgravity and then readapts to gravity on Earth. NASA will participate in the post-flight analysis of rodents flown for 30 days on the biosatellite, Bion-M1, which launched April 19 from Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

Dear Colleagues: The Open Journal System web site for Gravitational and Space Biology is now active, and we would like to encourage manuscript submissions of all kinds. A tutorial of the new electronic submission system is attached, as are the instructions to authors. The attached instructions (which can also be found in the front-matter of the September issue) supersede all other versions.

Manuscripts can be submitted any time through the website: and will be published in the order of their completion through the peer review, and author revision process. However, we are currently making special encouragement to people interested in contributing short communications developed from abstracts presented at the annual meeting last week, as well as longer symposia papers from the meeting. Manuscripts submitted before February 15th will be targeted to the April 2012 issue, and those submitted between then and July 15th will be targeted to the September 2012 issue.

Submission is open to all, and in addition to gravitational and space biology topics, we are actively encouraging papers in the fields of astrobiology, analog environment research, advanced life support (ALS), as well as biophysics, engineering, and hardware development relevant to these, and other gravitational and space biology arenas.

The value of the journal to ASGSB, and to the scientific community, depends heavily on the quality and number of articles submitted. We look forward to receiving many high-quality papers that strongly reflect the exciting research of our members. We are the face of ASGSB.

As always, do not hesitate to e-mail with any questions, concerns or suggestions. Best regards, Anna-Lisa Paul Editor, Gravitational and Space Biology

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has released NASA Research Announcement (NRA) NNH11ZTT002N, entitled "Research Opportunities in Space Biology." This NASA Research Announcement (NRA) solicits hypothesis-driven research proposals for both ground-based experiments and flight experiments in Space Biology (SB). All proposals must describe hypothesis-driven experiments that will answer basic questions about how cells, plants and animals respond to changes in gravity. Proposals for ground-based experiments must demonstrate and describe a clear path to hypothesis testing in space flight experiments on the ISS or other appropriate space flight platforms. This NRA also requests proposals for rapid turn-around flight research using plants or Petri dish-based biological systems that will utilize either the Advanced Biological Research System (ABRS) hardware residing on the International Space Station (ISS) or the Biological Research in Canisters - Petri Dish Fixation Unit (BRIC-PDFU) hardware on any of several potential flight platforms (based on science requirements and availability).