NavBar Background

Biological Studies in Space

With future space missions to Moon and Mars, and the emergence of a space tourism industry, we will continue to send humans into space.

It is widely accepted that physics and chemistry of the space environment are drastically different from the physics and chemistry of Earth, so it is reasonable to expect that biology must also be different in space.

Over the decades of human space flight scientists have discovered that space flight has wide-ranging effects on living systems:

  • Muscles atrophy
  • Bones become less dense
  • Total red blood cell mass decreases
  • Cardiovascular system degrades
  • Immune system is impaired

In order for humans to engage in long-term space travel and tourism, we must understand and develop measures to counteract the most detrimental effects of space flight, radiation and reduced gravity, on biological systems.

Other potential future exploration applications for biological systems also include:

  • Lunar missions
    Orbital biosensors
    Surface biologically-based interrogators
  • Deep Space biosensors
  • Planetary biosensors
    Orbital
    Landed
    Crewed vehicles

Benefits of Small Satellites for Space-Based Research

  • Access to alternative space environments
    Multiple flights possible - test, learn, iterate
    Exploit unique space environments outside of 51° LEO (ISS)
  • Autonomous spacecraft technologies becoming available and capable
    Command and control, communications
    Power generation
  • Relatively low cost
    Secondary payload model
    Ideal for partnering and collaboration opportunities
  • Autonomous operations using small (miniature) systems
    Reduces reliance on human-tended architectures
    Applies pressure to reduce mass, power, other resources
  • Rapid development cycle(s)
    Iterative process key to success
    Consistent with commercial technology life cycles
  • Rapid technology migration to other (larger) platforms