Vertebrate Responses to Spaceflight
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This entry presents an overview of what spaceflight experiments have revealed about the importance of the ambient force environment to normative physiology and behavior in vertebrates. We will consider how the various systems respond to the microgravity environment.
Life on Earth has evolved in an environment with a set ambient force environment, protection against most galactic radiation sources, and a predictable environment of annual and daily cycles. When we remove an organism from this comfort zone, we can expect changes in physiology and behavior as the organism adapts to its new environment. Indeed, when we first sent animals into space, there were concerns that basic functions such as sleeping or swallowing would be compromised. These fears were allayed when animals and early astronauts were able to thrive in the microgravity environment of spaceflight.
In order to conduct spaceflight experiments, we first had to get there. The first...
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