Recently in the Space Life Science Category

When scientists complete an experiment aboard the International Space Station, the ramifications of that work have just begun. NASA carries on a legacy of decades of biological research data, fueling new discoveries long after studies wrap up in space.

What biology research would you conduct on the International Space Station? As the world celebrates 20 years of astronauts living and working on the International Space Station, ESA is preparing for another decade of European research in humankind's weightless laboratory.

The primary goal is to train the next generation of scientists and engineers, enabling NASA to meet future research and development challenges in space life sciences.

NASA has awarded 15 grants for new space biology research designed to help the agency achieve its goals under the Artemis lunar exploration program.

In space, the human body loses muscle mass. Although living in microgravity requires no heavy lifting, this loss of muscle reduces physical performance.

Ken Souza, Space Biologist

Keith's note: I was deeply saddened to learn that my long time friend Ken Souza died suddenly yesterday. Ken was probably the first NASA life scientist I got to know when I started with NASA in the mid-1980s.

Thora Halstead, Space Biologist

Keith's note: When I first came to Washington in 1986 I had the extreme pleasure of working with Thora at NASA Headquarters. Thora learned her craft from the very first people to send living things into space and I had the distinct honor of learning about those early days from her. She practically invented space biology. She was always fun to work with and had a soft spot when it came to young people. She was instrumental in the founding of ASGSB - now ASGSR - an organization which had the interests of students deeply embedded in its core mission.

Fruit flies bred in space are offering scientists a clue as to how astronauts' immune systems may be damaged during prolonged space travel.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has extended the proposal due date for NASA Research Announcement (NRA) NNH11ZTT002N, entitled "Research Opportunities in Space Biology." The deadline for receipt of proposals has changed from Friday, January 6, 2012 to Monday, January 23, 2012, 5 PM ET. Selections of proposals are expected to be announced by April 30, 2012.

The full text of the solicitation is available on the NASA Research Opportunities homepage at under menu listing "Open Solicitations." Potential applicants are urged to access this site well in advance of the proposal due date to familiarize themselves with its structure and to register in the NSPIRES system. Proposals must be submitted electronically.

Description: This NASA Research Announcement (NRA) solicits hypothesis-driven research proposals for both ground-based experiments and flight experiments in Space Biology (SB). This solicitation (NRA NNH11ZTT002N), entitled, "Research Opportunities in Space Biology," will be available on or about September 30, 2011. This solicitation will be found by opening the NASA Research Opportunities homepage at and then linking through the menu listings "Solicitations" to "Open Solicitations."

Utilizing 21st century biological tools (e.g., genetic, proteomic, metabolomic), SB scientists will examine and discover underlying mechanisms of adaptation to changes resulting from the space flight environment (e.g., altered gravity, stress, radiation), and will determine cellular and organismal mechanisms that regulate and sustain growth, metabolism, reproduction and development. NASA intends to sponsor studies that will result in new basic knowledge that will provide a foundation on which other NASA researchers and engineers can build approaches and countermeasures to the problems confronting human exploration of space, or that translate into new biological tools or applications on Earth.

All proposals must describe hypothesis-driven experiments that will answer basic questions about how cells, plants and animals respond to changes in gravity. This NRA will solicit proposals for ground-based SB research using cells, tissues, or whole animals that will enhance our understanding of the effects of gravity on the mammalian musculoskeletal system. Proposals for these 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). Applications for flight experiments must demonstrate, using ground-based and/or previous flight research results, that there is a high likelihood of successful completion of any proposed flight experiment.