Status Report

NASA Selects 15 Space Biology Research Proposals to Support Moon, Mars Exploration

By SpaceRef Editor
August 7, 2019
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NASA has awarded 15 grants for new space biology research designed to help the agency achieve its goals under the Artemis lunar exploration program. Teams of investigators will use state-of-the-art genetic and other biological techniques to explore how life adapts and changes during spaceflight, and the results could help support human exploration of the Moon, and ultimately, Mars. 


Selected microbiology investigations will study whether changes in bacteria, fungi, and viruses are likely to affect how they interact with crew and material surroundings aboard the International Space Station, with an emphasis on likelihood to cause infections and microbial evolution.


The plant studies will determine important characteristics of plants relevant to space-farming methods for exploration missions. Topics for investigation include how interactions between microbes in soil and on plants change in spaceflight and changes in plant disease defense mechanisms.


Animal physiology experiments will hone our understanding of cardiovascular changes in space. Other animal experiments in ground-based laboratories will further the development of techniques to reproduce the weight-bearing astronauts will experience on missions to the Moon and Mars. 


These space biology investigations will be conducted by 15 investigators from 14 institutions in 10 states. Six of these awards are to investigators new to the Space Biology Program. When fully implemented, about $9 million will be awarded in fiscal years 2020-2023.


The complete list of the selected proposals, principal investigators, and organizations can be found at:

SpaceRef staff editor.