Recently in the Space Life Science Category

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.

The deadline for abstract submittal for the ASGSB November 2011 meeting has been extended to Friday, September 2, 2011. To submit and abstract, please go to the following link:

Dear Colleagues:

As many of you know, the Society's journal, Gravitational and Space Biology, is undergoing a series of changes to become a completely electronic, Open Journal, and the September issue will be the first in the new format. One substantial change is that the journal will now accept the submission of manuscripts continuously. There will still be occasional time-delimited calls for issue-specific materials (such as the extended meeting abstracts) but all submissions, of any length, can be submitted for consideration and review at any time. Manuscripts will be published as space permits, in the order of acceptance.

For the time being, submissions can be made through the ASGSB web site using the same formatting template provided for the extended abstracts; however the length need not be limited to two pages.

As always, the main criteria for publication will be that the research presented is original and of significant interest to the community of gravitational and space biologists. All manuscripts will be peer reviewed.

Again, many thanks for your patience as we make this transition.
Below I have compiled a set of the most frequently asked questions to come across my desk in the past few months, but if you have any others, please do not hesitate to ask.

Anna-Lisa Paul
Editor, Gravitational and Space Biology

Frequently Asked Questions:

Dear Colleagues:

The Editorial Board of Gravitational and Space Biology is now soliciting two-page reports for publication in the next issue of the Journal. Extended abstracts from those of you who presented posters or talks at the Fall 2010 meeting are especially encouraged, but the invitation is open to any who wish to submit short papers conforming to the 2-page template.

You can submit your reports via the ASGSB web site, where you will find clear and simple instructions. The main criteria for publication will be that the research presented is original and of significant interest to the community of gravitational and space biologists. These reports will be peer reviewed. The deadline for submission is Friday, March 11.

The two-page reports that are accepted will appear in the 2011 issue of the journal, along with solicited review articles. The issue is scheduled for publication in the early Fall.

As many of you know, we are reorganizing the ASGSB web site and the Society's journal, Gravitational and Space Biology. Both represent the face of our Society, and both undertakings will take time to do well - so we thank you for your patience. This issue will be the first to be published entirely in electronic format, but each paper will be able to be downloaded as a pdf from the web site. As a consequence, there are no restrictions to color in figures. In addition, we will be encouraging submissions for cover art from accepted manuscripts.

The value of the journal to ASGSB and to the international gravitational and space biology community depends heavily on the quality and number of articles submitted. We look forward to receiving many high-quality two-page reports that strongly reflect the exciting research represented by the members of our Society.

Best regards,

Anna-Lisa Paul Editor, Gravitational and Space Biology