Encyclopedia of Bioastronautics

Living Edition
| Editors: Laurence R. Young, Jeffrey P. Sutton

Space Biology (Cells to Amphibians)

  • Richard BoyleEmail author
  • Millie Hughes-Fulford
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-10152-1_39-1


In this entry, we will present an overview of this very broad topic on how gravity shapes the structure and function of terrestrial life, from the microbiota to invertebrate and some amphibian species, and its action on selected population of vertebrate cell lines. It necessarily cannot be an all-inclusive review due to the vast amount of information gathered from these diverse domains of biological life on Earth.

Of all the environmental factors under which a terrestrial organism has been exposed in the course of its evolution, only gravity has stayed constant. Predation, climate, vegetation, and terrestrial or aquatic habitation, for example, have changed, but the intensity and direction of gravity have not. The organism’s ability to detect gravity and to live under a gravitational load is critical for its survival. Even rudimentary ciliated protozoa display positive or negative geotaxis. Fossil evidence shows that the elaborate sensory structures used to sense the...

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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ames Research Center, NASAMoffett FieldUSA
  2. 2.Hughes-Fulford Laboratory, Department of Medicine Metabolism Division San FranciscoUniversity of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA
  3. 3.Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Northern California Institute for Research and EducationUniversity of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA
  4. 4.Department of MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Peter Norsk
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for Space MedicineBaylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Biomedical Research & Environmental Sciences DivisionNASA, Johnson Space CenterHoustonUSA