Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Renewal of a life and physical sciences research program at NASA could facilitate longer, farther human space missions

Date:
April 6, 2011
Source:
National Academy of Sciences
Summary:
By elevating its life and physical sciences research program, NASA could achieve the biological understanding and technical breakthroughs needed to allow humans to be sent deeper into space, according to a new report.

By elevating its life and physical sciences research program, NASA could achieve the biological understanding and technical breakthroughs needed to allow humans to be sent deeper into space, including to Mars, says a new National Research Council report. In addition, access to the space environment -- for example, on the International Space Station -- will open up further opportunities for groundbreaking research in the physical and life sciences. The report, one of a series of decadal surveys that the Research Council has completed for NASA and the first on interdisciplinary life and physical sciences for exploration missions, lays out a research agenda for the next decade that could bring about developments with substantial payoffs for human exploration of space.

Related Articles


Several years of budgetary challenges and priority being given to other programs at NASA have left the life and physical sciences program dramatically reduced in both scale and scope, with no clear institutional home at the space agency, according to the committee that wrote the report. As a result NASA is now poorly positioned to take full advantage of the laboratory environment offered by the International Space Station.

Strong leadership with sufficient scientific gravitas is necessary to ensure that the life and physical sciences program has a voice at the table during deliberations about NASA priorities and resources and to highlight the central role that the life and physical sciences play in human exploration missions, the report says. It concludes that re-establishing the program under a single management structure housed in an appropriate part of the agency will be key to the program's success. In addition, a stable and adequate funding base is required to support a robust research program that attracts top scientists.

"A focused life and physical sciences program can make possible the achievements that bring the space community, policymakers, and the U.S. public to a realization that we are ready for the next significant phase of human space exploration," said the committee co-chair, Elizabeth Cantwell, director of mission development, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, Calif.

For example, effective countermeasures are needed to offset the adverse effects of the space environment on the health and performance capabilities of astronauts on prolonged missions along with a deeper understanding of how gravity affects the human body. This type of information will be essential to realize extended space voyages like Mars missions or a potential base on the moon. In addition, astronauts on long missions would require the ability to collect or produce large amounts of water. Research in the physical and life sciences that yields game-changing discoveries like regenerative power sources would also help make deep space travel feasible.

According to the report, research to allow extended human space exploration will also offer terrestrial benefits. "Research in the life and physical sciences can enable space missions and, as a unique benefit, there is critical research that can in turn be enabled on Earth by access to space," said Wendy Kohrt, professor at the University of Colorado, Denver, and co-chair of the committee. "With the advantage of the space environment, we believe there is an opportunity to significantly advance fundamental scientific understanding."

The study was sponsored by NASA. The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council make up the National Academies. They are private, nonprofit institutions that provide science, technology, and health policy advice under a congressional charter. The Research Council is the principal operating agency of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Academy of Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Academy of Sciences. "Renewal of a life and physical sciences research program at NASA could facilitate longer, farther human space missions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110405113254.htm>.
National Academy of Sciences. (2011, April 6). Renewal of a life and physical sciences research program at NASA could facilitate longer, farther human space missions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110405113254.htm
National Academy of Sciences. "Renewal of a life and physical sciences research program at NASA could facilitate longer, farther human space missions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110405113254.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU, Russia, Ukraine Seal Breakthrough Gas Accord

EU, Russia, Ukraine Seal Breakthrough Gas Accord

AFP (Oct. 31, 2014) Russia agrees to resume gas deliveries to war-torn Ukraine through the winter in an EU-brokered, multi-billion dollar deal signed by the three parties in Brussels. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alcoholic Drinks In The E.U. Could Get Calorie Labels

Alcoholic Drinks In The E.U. Could Get Calorie Labels

Newsy (Oct. 31, 2014) A health group in the United Kingdom has called for mandatory calorie labels on alcoholic beverages in the European Union. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Relief After “gas War” Is Averted

Relief After “gas War” Is Averted

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 31, 2014) A gas war between Russia and Ukraine has been averted. But as Hayley Platt reports a deal was only reached after Kiev's western creditors agreed to partly funding the deal. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Malaria Threat in Liberia as Fight Against Ebola Rages

Malaria Threat in Liberia as Fight Against Ebola Rages

AFP (Oct. 31, 2014) Focus on treating the Ebola epidemic in Liberia means that treatment for malaria, itself a killer, is hard to come by. MSF are now undertaking the mass distribution of antimalarials in Monrovia. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins