NASA announces the award of 10 grants or cooperative agreements for exciting new Space Biology research that will advance NASA’s understanding of how living systems respond, acclimate, and adapt to the space environment in support of human space exploration.


As human exploration prepares to go beyond Low Earth Orbit, Space Biology is shifting its research priorities towards work that will enable organisms to Thrive In DEep Space (TIDES). These efforts will focus on determining the effects of multiple deep-space stressors (e.g., radiation & reduced gravity) on multiple organisms. This work will support animal research (vertebrate and invertebrate) that will enable us to better understand human responses to the deep-space environment. The plant research will support human exploration either through the eventual production of micronutrients and food during deep-space missions, or the establishment of bioregenerative life support systems. The goal of the TIDES initiative is to enable long-duration missions and improve life on Earth through innovative research. 


The awarded proposals include both ground-based and International Space Station studies and will use different model systems to understand how the multiple variables of the spaceflight environment impact plant and animal biology/physiology and the relationships of some of these models with their respective microbial ecosystems. Selected studies include (but are not limited to) efforts to 1) understand plant/pathogen interactions in spaceflight, 2) identify optimal conditions for growing plants in hostile environments including those involving low pressure and altered gravity or radiation, 3) understand how the spaceflight environment effects animal muscle physiology and energy metabolism, and 4) provide insights into how space travel impacts an animal host and its microbiome, both individually and together.


The full text of the announcement, which includes the complete list of the selected proposals, principal investigators and organizations, can be found at:NASA Selects 10 Space Biology Research Projects that will Enable Organisms to Thrive in Deep Space.


Astrobiology, space biology, microgravity