WASHINGTON, Aug. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA's Space Biology Program will fund 26 proposals to investigate how microbes, cells, plants and animals respond to changes in gravity. The research will be conducted aboard the International Space Station.
The research will help uncover new basic knowledge that other NASA researchers and engineers can use to solve problems confronting human exploration of space or that could lead to new biological tools or applications on Earth. Proposals were in response to the NASA Research Announcement (NRA) NHH14ZTT001N, "Spaceflight Research Opportunities in Space Biology."
The selected proposals come from 17 institutions in nine states and include 16 principal investigators who will be receiving their first Space Biology grant award. When fully implemented, the grants are worth a total of about $12.6 million during a one- to three-year period.
The research will apply 21st-century genetics theories and new tools to study RNA and DNA. The objective is to learn how these building blocks of life regulate and sustain normal health, repair injuries and regulate growth, metabolism, reproduction and development during adaptation to microgravity.
The space station will be used as a platform to study the behavior and evolution of microbes and evaluate the effects of long-term spaceflight on additional organisms such as parasitic wasps and the microorganisms known as water bears. Investigators also will study mouse physiology, cardiac function, reproductive health, neurobiology, ocular health and immunology.
The Space Biology Program is managed by the Space Life and Physical Sciences Division in NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at the agency's headquarters in Washington.
The International Space Station is a convergence of science, technology and human innovation that demonstrates new technologies and makes research breakthroughs not possible on Earth. The space station has had continuous human occupation since November 2000. In that time, it has received more than 200 visitors and a variety of international and commercial spacecraft. The space station remains the springboard to NASA's journey to Mars and other deep space destinations.
For a complete list of the selected proposals, principal investigators and organizations, visit: