Special Issue "Response of Terrestrial Life to Space Conditions"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 January 2014)
Prof. David M. Klaus
Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309, USA
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Phone: +1 303 492 3525
Fax: +1 303 492 8883
Interests: bioastronautics; human space flight; spacecraft life support systems; spacesuit technologies; gravitational biology; extracellular mass transport
Life as we know it on Earth has evolved in the presence of terrestrial gravity while protected under an atmosphere and a magnetic field that both help to keep harmful radiation exposure at sufficiently low levels. These ubiquitous physical factors greatly influence the morphology and behavior of living systems ranging from the smallest microbes to plant life and up to humans. The force of gravity dictates the need for load-bearing structures and creates hydrostatic gradients in liquids that are contained within organisms. Similarly, orientation and locomotion on the surface, in water, or through air must also overcome the constant downward force exerted by Earth's gravitational attraction. All of these physical attributes are altered when an organism is exposed to conditions of spaceflight, where the orbital state of free fall results in a weightless environment. For small microbes, weightlessness alters biophysical interactions and affects cell population distribution in suspension cultures. Plants no longer need the same degree of structural provision to support their weight, nor do they have the ability to properly orient their roots and shoots upon initial emergence from seed. Humans suffer from bone and muscle disuse atrophy, as well as experience neurovestibular disorientation and a cephalic fluid shift that sets up a number of subsequent adaptive physiological responses. Research is aimed at better characterizing, perhaps even utilizing, these altered biological outcomes, and also at developing countermeasures in an attempt to counteract those effects that are exceedingly detrimental. Planetary surface exploration introduces various additional concerns. Furthermore, as humans venture beyond Low Earth Orbit and out past the Van Allen Belts, chronic exposure to galactic cosmic radiation increases and potentially lethal, acute solar events pose serious threats to life at all levels. The submission of scientific perspectives, comprehensive reviews or research articles on these and related topics is welcome for this special edition.
Prof. David M. Klaus
Manuscript Submission Information
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- gravitational biology
- life in space
- radiation biology
- space life sciences
- space medicine
- space physiology
- spaceflight biomedical countermeasures
- spaceflight biotechnology