Current Microgravity News and Events

Current Microgravity News and Events, Microgravity News Articles.
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What happens when your brain can't tell which way is up or down?
What feels like up may actually be some other direction depending on how our brains process our orientation, according to psychology researchers at York University's Faculty of Health. In a new study published in PLoS One, researchers at York University's Centre for Vision Research found that an individual's interpretation of the direction of gravity can be altered by how their brain responds to visual information. (2021-01-07)

Space worms experiment reveals gravity affects genes
Living at low gravity affects cells at the genetic level, according to a study of worms in space. (2020-11-25)

Fruit flies reveal new insights into space travel's effect on the heart
Scientists at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute have shown that fruit flies that spent several weeks on the International Space Station (ISS)--about half of their lives--experienced profound structural and biochemical changes to their hearts. (2020-11-25)

Tracking and fighting fires on earth and beyond
Scientists demonstrate how fires burn and spread under different environmental conditions. (2020-11-23)

NIST designs a prototype fuel gauge for orbit
Liquids aren't as well behaved in space as they are on Earth. Inside a spacecraft, microgravity allows liquids to freely slosh and float about. This behavior has made fuel quantity in satellites difficult to pin down, but a new 3D-imaging fuel gauge engineered at the National Institute of Standards and Technology could offer an ideal solution. (2020-11-12)

Microbial space travel on a molecular scale
Galactic cosmic and solar UV radiation, extreme vacuum, temperature fluctuations: how can microbes exposed to these challenges in space survive? A team around Space Biochemistry group at the University of Vienna investigated how the space-surviving microbes could physically survive the transfer from one celestial body to another. The results are published in the high-impact journal Microbiome. (2020-11-04)

Human heart in space: What can we learn from mathematical modeling
The research carried out by the Politecnico di Torino shows that space flight ages astronauts' heart. (2020-10-08)

Gut microbes could allow space travelers to stay healthy on long voyages
Space travel is associated with a variety of negative health effects, including bone loss and mental health issues, which could limit our ability to undertake long-distance space missions, such as a mission to Mars. A new review highlights the potential of treatments that enhance gut microbes as a way to protect space travelers during long voyages. (2020-09-08)

Amyloid formation in the International Space Station
The collaborative research team of Japan using the International Space Station (ISS) successfully characterized Alzheimer's disease-related amyloid fibril formation under microgravity conditions. Their findings demonstrated that amyloid fibril formation on the ISS is significantly slower than that on the Earth. Moreover, microgravity promoted the formation of distinct morphologies of amyloid fibrils. The project highlights the utility of the ISS as an ideal experimental environment for investigating amyloid formation mechanisms without uncontrollable perturbations caused by gravity. (2020-06-16)

Graphene sets sail in microgravity
ESA-backed researchers demonstrate the laser-propulsion of graphene sails in microgravity. The light sails use a scalable micro-membrane design that minimizes their mass and hence increases their thrust upon light irradiation. To demonstrate the new sail concept, the scientists gained access to ZARM Drop Tower. There, the sail prototypes were set in vacuum and microgravity, and 1W-lasers caused their acceleration up to 1 m/s2. (2020-05-06)

Long spaceflights affect astronaut brain volume
Extended periods in space have long been known to cause vision problems in astronauts. Now a new study suggests that the impact of long-duration space travel is more far-reaching, potentially causing brain volume changes and pituitary gland deformation. (2020-04-14)

How planets may form after dust sticks together
Scientists may have figured out how dust particles can stick together to form planets, according to a Rutgers co-authored study that may also help to improve industrial processes. (2019-12-09)

Space travel can make the gut leaky
Bacteria, fungi, and viruses can enter our gut through the food we eat. Fortunately, the epithelial cells that line our intestines serve as a robust barrier to prevent these microorganisms from invading the rest of our bodies. A research team led by a University of California, Riverside, biomedical scientist has found that simulated microgravity, such as that encountered in spaceflight, disrupts the functioning of the epithelial barrier even after removal from the microgravity environment. (2019-11-26)

Cancer research that's out-of-this-world
University of Technology (UTS) researcher Dr. Joshua Chou is looking to replicate the promising results of experiments he has carried out on cancer cells in the zero gravity chamber built by his team in the UTS School of Biomedical Engineering. (2019-11-26)

Human heart cells are altered by spaceflight, but return to (mostly) normal on Earth
Heart muscle cells derived from stem cells show remarkable adaptability to their environment during and after spaceflight, according to a study publishing Nov. 7 in Stem Cell Reports. The researchers examined cell-level cardiac function and gene expression in human heart cells cultured aboard the International Space Station for 5.5 weeks. Exposure to microgravity altered the expression of thousands of genes, but largely normal patterns of gene expression reappeared within 10 days after returning to Earth. (2019-11-07)

Study underscores changes in brain structure, function in long-duration space missions
New study demonstrates for the first time that changes in cognitive performance correlate with changes in brain structure in NASA astronauts following spaceflight. (2019-10-28)

No defects found in reproductive ability of male mice returning from short stay in space
Male mice raised in space using specially developed cages were returned safely to Earth. The sperm production/fertilizing ability of the mice were normal and the reproduction ability of the offspring were not affected by their parents' stay in outer space. The findings on the effects of the environment in space on the male reproductive system will contribute to the accumulation of basic knowledge for humankind to expand the range of its activity to space. (2019-10-23)

Melatonin is a potential drug for the prevention of bone loss during space flight
Melatonin could be a novel drug for preventing bone loss of astronauts during space flight. Here we used goldfish scales as a bone model of coexisting osteoclasts and osteoblasts and demonstrated that melatonin synthesis decreased under microgravity. Melatonin treatment of scales stimulated expression of Calcitonin, an osteoclast-inhibiting hormone, and decreased expression of an osteoclastogenesis promotor. This is the first study to report the inhibitory effect of melatonin on osteoclast activation, which is cancelled by microgravity. (2019-09-03)

Spaceflight consistently affects the gut
A new Northwestern University study discovered that spaceflight -- both aboard a space shuttle or the International Space Station (ISS) -- has a consistent effect on the gut microbiome. (2019-08-21)

Microgravity changes brain connectivity
An international team of Russian and Belgian researchers, including scientists from HSE University, has found out that space travel has a significant impact on the brain: they discovered that cosmonauts demonstrate changes in brain connectivity related to perception and movement. (2019-08-19)

Gravity changes mass of muscles and bones, which was experimentally observed in space
An international collaboration led by scientists mainly at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT) , Japan, has found that bone and muscle mass are regulated by the altered gravity. The experiments were done in space using Kibo, a ISS module developed by JAXA, and on the ground. (2019-07-25)

Drinking red wine on the red planet
BIDMC researchers report that a daily moderate dose of resveratrol significantly preserved muscle function and mitigated muscle atrophy in an animal model mimicking Mars' partial gravity. Novel model innovated by BIDMC researchers will help scientists fill in the blanks about the little understood physiological consequences of partial gravity. (2019-07-18)

Frozen sperm retains its viability in outer space conditions
Zillionaires like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos who see the 'colonization' of space as an answer to the Earth's ever threatened resources will be reassured to learn that human sperm retains its complete viability within the different gravitational conditions found in outer space. (2019-06-23)

Space travel and your joints
A novel Henry Ford Hospital study of mice aboard a Russian spaceflight may raise an intriguing question for the astronauts of tomorrow: Could traveling in space be bad for your joints? Researchers found early signs of cartilage breakdown in the mice, suggesting that the reduced biomechanical forces of spaceflight are at play on the musculoskeletal system. (2019-05-21)

Human genomics and physiology in the final frontier: Results from the NASA Twins Study
The health impacts of NASA's longest-duration human spaceflight are detailed in a new study comparing astronaut Scott Kelly, who spent nearly a year in orbit, with his twin, Mark, back home on Earth. (2019-04-11)

NASA Twins Study finds spaceflight affects gut bacteria
During his yearlong stay on the International Space Station (ISS), astronaut Scott Kelly experienced a shift in the ratio of two major categories of bacteria in his gut microbiome. The diversity of bacteria in his microbiome, however, did not change during spaceflight, which the Northwestern University-led research team found encouraging. (2019-04-11)

NASA twin study provides multi-omics view of human body's response to year in space
The NASA Twins Study is the most comprehensive integrated multi-omics, molecular, physiological, and behavioral analysis of how the human body responds to space flight to date. Study results were published in the April edition of Science. (2019-04-11)

In vivo data show effects of spaceflight microgravity on stem cells and tissue regeneration
A new review of data from 12 spaceflight experiments and simulated microgravity studies has shown that microgravity does not have a negative effect on stem-like cell-dependent tissue regeneration in newts, but in some tissues regeneration is faster and more robust. (2019-03-25)

Effects of spaceflight on heart cell formation from stem cells
Researchers used time-lapse imaging to show that mouse induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) grown during spaceflight differentiated into cardiomyocytes significantly faster than similar cells grown at Earth's gravity. (2019-03-06)

Brain condition related to long-term spaceflights needs more attention, data
Recognizing the need for more data related to the effects of microgravity on the human body, Medical University of South Carolina neuroradiologist Donna Roberts, M.D., and co-author Lonnie G. Petersen, M.D.,Ph.D., University of California San Diego, have published ''The Study of Hydrocephalus Associated With Long-term Spaceflight (HALS) Provides New Insights into Cerebrospinal Fluid Flow,'' in JAMA Neurology's Jan. 23 online publication. (2019-01-24)

Prolonged spaceflight could weaken astronauts' immune systems
University of Arizona researchers led the first study to report impaired NK-cell function during long-duration space travel. (2019-01-23)

Space microbes aren't so alien after all
A new Northwestern University study has found that -- despite its seemingly harsh conditions -- the ISS is not causing bacteria to mutate into dangerous, antibiotic-resistant superbugs. The bacteria are instead simply responding, and perhaps evolving, to survive in a stressful environment. (2019-01-08)

Immune health in space
With a new crew arriving at the International Space Station, astronauts will be relieved to know that they won't have to worry about a major aspect of their immune system being compromised. (2018-12-04)

Universal laws in impact dynamics of dust agglomerates under microgravity conditions
A collaboration between Nagoya University and TU Braunschweig finds evidence that when projectiles hit soft clumps of dust or hard clumps of loose glass beads, the scaling laws for energy dissipation and energy transfer are the same in each case. This helps us understand how granular clumps stick together, and how planets are formed. (2018-11-16)

'Dust up' on International Space Station hints at sources of structure
In a lab on Earth, electrically charged dust generally lines up either along the downward pull of gravity or across it. Scientists at the Center for Astrophysics, Space Physics, and Engineering Research (CASPER), at Baylor University, got a surprise when examining data from a similar experiment on the International Space Station orbiting 248 miles above Earth. Rather than the dust bouncing around randomly, the dust often wiggled around in straight lines, even without gravity. (2018-11-05)

Neurology: Space travel alters the brain
LMU physicians have shown that widespread changes in the relative tissue volumes of the brains of cosmonauts who have spent long periods of time in the weightlessness of outer space can still be detected more than six months after their return to Earth. (2018-10-24)

Plant hormone makes space farming a possibility
With scarce nutrients and weak gravity, growing potatoes on the Moon or on other planets seems unimaginable. But the plant hormone strigolactone could make it possible, plant biologists from the University of Zurich have shown. The hormone supports the symbiosis between fungi and plant roots, thus encouraging plants' growth -- even under the challenging conditions found in space. (2018-10-17)

Aboard the ISS, researchers investigate complex dust behavior in plasmas
400 kilometers above Earth, researchers examined waves in complex plasma under microgravity conditions and found that the microparticles behaved in nonuniform ways in the presence of varying electrical fields. They report some of the first findings from the Plasma-Kristall 4 experiment, a collaboration between the European Space Agency and the Russian State Space Corporation Roscosmos, in Physics of Plasmas. (2018-08-07)

Experiments of the Russian scientists in space lead to a new way of 3D-bioprinting
Thanks to the research of magnetic levitation in the conditions of microgravity, a new technology for 3D printing of biological tissues was developed. In the future, this technology will help to create radiation-sensitive biological constructs and repair damaged tissues and human organs. The results are published in Biofabrication. The technology is based on the results of the experimental studies which were supported by Russian Science Foundation (RSF). (2018-06-22)

Heavier astronauts have higher risk of post-flight eye changes
New research suggests that changes in the eye that occur during spaceflight may be related to how much an astronaut weighs. The study is published ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology--Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. (2018-05-31)

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