© 2012

Grappling with Gravity

How Will Life Adapt to Living in Space?


Part of the Astronomers' Universe book series (ASTRONOM)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Space Here We Come

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Robert W. Phillips
      Pages 3-13
    3. Robert W. Phillips
      Pages 15-24
    4. Robert W. Phillips
      Pages 25-39
    5. Robert W. Phillips
      Pages 41-52
    6. Robert W. Phillips
      Pages 53-67
    7. Robert W. Phillips
      Pages 69-93
  3. Life in Space

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 95-95
    2. Robert W. Phillips
      Pages 97-136
    3. Robert W. Phillips
      Pages 137-154
    4. Robert W. Phillips
      Pages 155-182
  4. Preparing for the Future

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 183-183
    2. Robert W. Phillips
      Pages 185-216
    3. Robert W. Phillips
      Pages 217-230
    4. Robert W. Phillips
      Pages 231-240
  5. Robert W. Phillips
    Pages E1-E1
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 241-271

About this book


Grappling with Gravity explores the physiological changes that will occur in humans and the plants and animals that accompany humans as we move to new worlds, whether it be to a colony in the emptiness of space or settlements on the moon, Mars, or other moons or planets.

This book focuses on the biomedical aspects, while not ignoring other life-changing influences of space living. For example, what happens to people physiologically in the microgravity of space, where weight and the direction "up" are meaningless?

Adapting to microgravity represents the greatest physical challenge that human life will have encountered since our ancestors moved from the seas to solid Earth. It will be the next great adventure!


Bone growth space Effects microgravity humans Effects spaceflight Human evolution space Living in space colonies

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Fort CollinsUSA

About the authors

Robert Phillips is a veterinarian and has also a doctorate in Physiology/Nutrition. He taught and conducted research at Colorado State University until 1984, when he was selected by NASA to fly on the"Spacelab Life Sciences 1," the first shuttle mission devoted to biomedical research. Ten months prior to launch Phillips had to remove himself from flight status due to a medical condition. He supported the mission from the payload operations control center. Following the mission, Phillips served for three years at NASA HQ as the Space Station Chief Scientist during the station's design phase. He then joined the NASA Life Sciences Education and Outreach program for 10 years, presenting seminars and workshops to teachers, students, and the public about the effects of spaceflight on life.

Bibliographic information


From the reviews:

“In Robert W. Phillips’ book, Grappling with Gravity, one can read mostly about some of the biggest problems that astronauts face in micro-gravity … . an ideal book for those interested in the changes that the human body will experience away from the familiar Earth’s environment. … it is written in a simple way, so it might even be suitable for younger readers who have a little bit of knowledge about how the human body works.” (Kadri Tinn,, May, 2014)

“Written for the layman … this is an informative survey of the problems and the effects associated with microgravity space flight. … The book is an excellent guide to the general conditions experienced in microgravity and provides a potted history of flight through the atmosphere and early missions into space from the physiological perspective. … With 271 pages and 113 illustrations, this is a worthy little book and one that is an easy and satisfying read … .” (Spaceflight, Vol. 54 (7), July, 2012)