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Bioessays. 1996 Dec;18(12):1029-37.

Human physiology in space.

Author information

1
National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Headquarters, Washington, DC 20546-0001, USA.
2
HQS

Abstract

The universality of gravity (1 g) in our daily lives makes it difficult to appreciate its importance in morphology and physiology. Bone and muscle support systems were created, cellular pumps developed, neurons organised and receptors and transducers of gravitational force to biologically relevant signals evolved under 1g gravity. Spaceflight provides the only microgravity environment where systematic experimentation can expand our basic understanding of gravitational physiology and perhaps provide new insights into normal physiology and disease processes. These include the surprising extent of our body's dependence on perceptual information, and understanding the effect and importance of forces generated within the body's weightbearing structures such as muscle and bones. Beyond this exciting prospect is the importance of this work towards opening the solar system for human exploration. Although both appear promising, we are only just beginning to taste what lies ahead.

PMID:
8976162
DOI:
10.1002/bies.950181215
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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