Microgravity research after the International Space Station

Tuesday, March 12, 2019 - 22:30 in Astronomy & Space

For nearly 20 years, the International Space Station (ISS) has served as a singular laboratory for thousands of scientists, students, and startups around the world, who  have accessed the station’s microgravity environment to test how being in space impacts everything from cancer cells and human tissues to zucchini and barley seeds — not to mention a host of living organisms including flatworms, ants, geckos, and bobtail squids. Indeed, the ISS “has operated as a bastion of international cooperation and a unique testbed for microgravity research,” write MIT engineers in a paper they presented on March 8 at the IEEE Aerospace Conference in Montana. But the ISS will eventually be retired in its current form. NASA is preparing to transition the focus of its human space flight activities to the Moon, and the international partners that manage the ISS are discussing how to transition out of the current operational model. As...

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