News & Comment

Filter By:

  • The integration of biology and spacefaring has led to the development of three interrelated fields: Astrobiology, Bioastronautics, and Space Bioprocess Engineering. Astrobiology is concerned with the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe, while Bioastronautics focuses on the effects of spaceflight on biological systems, including human physiology and psychology. Space Bioprocess Engineering, on the other hand, deals with the design, deployment, and management of biotechnology for human exploration. This paper highlights the unique contributions of each field and outlines opportunities for biologists to engage in these exciting avenues of research. By providing a clear overview of the major fields of biology and spacefaring, this paper serves as a valuable resource for scientists and researchers interested in exploring the integration of these disciplines.

    • Aaron J. Berliner
    • Spencer Zezulka
    • Adam P. Arkin
    CommentOpen Access
  • The purpose of this paper is to describe NASA’s approach to establishing and maintaining a set of Agency-level Space Flight Human System Standards managed by the Office of the Chief Health and Medical Officer (OCHMO) at NASA that enables space flight missions by minimizing health risks to astronauts, providing vehicle design parameters, and supporting the performance of both flight and ground crews. NASA standards capture and provide knowledge, guidelines, thresholds and limits for the successful design and operation of spacecrafts and missions. The NASA Space Flight Human-System Standard (NASA-STD-3001) consists of two separate volumes of technical requirements: NASA-STD-3001 Volume 1: Crew Health addresses the requirements needed to support astronaut health and provide medical care; NASA-STD-3001 Volume 2: Human Factors, Habitability, and Environmental Health addresses human-integrated vehicle system design and operational requirements that will maintain astronaut safety and promote human performance. These standards are managed by an OCHMO team who continuously works with national and international subject matter experts and with each space flight program to provide the best technical requirements and implementation documentation to support the development of new programs. Through partnerships across the space flight industry, these technical requirements are constantly evolving to enable successful implementation of NASA programs and the commercialization of human space flight.

    • Sarah D. Childress
    • Tara C. Williams
    • David R. Francisco
    CommentOpen Access
  • In addition to microgravity, spaceflight simultaneously exposes biology to a suite of other stimuli. For example, in space, organisms experience ionizing radiation environments that significantly differ in both quality and quantity from those normally experienced on Earth. However, data on radiation exposure during space missions is often complex to access and to understand, limiting progress towards defining how radiation affects organisms against the unique background of spaceflight. To help address this challenge, we have developed the Rad-Bio-App. This web-accessible database imports radiation metadata from experiments archived in NASA’s GeneLab data repository, and then allows the user to explore these experiments both in the context of their radiation exposure and through their other metadata and results. Rad-Bio-App provides an easy-to-use, graphically-driven environment to enable both radiation biologists and non-specialist researchers to visualize, and understand the impact of ionizing radiation on various biological systems in the context of spaceflight.

    • Richard Barker
    • Sylvain V. Costes
    • Simon Gilroy
    CommentOpen Access