About this book
This book is intended as an overview at the undergraduate or early university level and describes the effects of spaceflight at cellular and organism levels. Past, current, and future research on the effects of gravity--or its absence--and ionizing radiation on the evolution, development, and function of living organisms is presented in layman's terms by researchers who have been active in this field. The purpose is to enlighten science and non-science readers to the benefits of space biology research for conducting basic and applied research to support human exploration of space. Also covered are the advantages of approaching the space environment as a laboratory for scientific, technological, and commercial research.
The first chapters present an overview of the major focuses of space research in biology, as well as the history and the list of animals and plants that have flown in space to date. The following chapters describe the main results of space studies in gravitational biology, developmental biology, radiation biology, and biotechnology. A brief background is given in each chapter, so that only a minimum of prior coursework in biology is necessary for full comprehension.