Microgravity, or the condition of weightlessness, can be experienced while in free fall. The sensation is often described as floating. In microgravity, there is no up or down, and objects in microgravity will move in whatever direction they are pushed. If you were to let go of an object in microgravity, it would float away from you.
This condition can have some interesting effects on the human body. For example, without the force of gravity pulling down on the body, blood can pool in the upper half of the body. This can cause people to feel flushed and may even make their faces appear puffy. In more extreme cases, it can lead to a condition called "red out," where the blood vessels in the eyes dilate and cause the person to see red.
There are scientists and researchers running tests aboard the International Space Station in an effort to learn more about cancer biology. Since its founding fifty years ago in 1958, NASA's exploration and research missions have benefited people around the world through the expansion of our civilization's horizons, the acquisition of knowledge, and the development of new technologies and applications that provide amazing new advances in the quality of human life.
Experiments conducted in the weightless environment of space are not typically at the forefront of the mind of a cancer biologist. However, space provides physical conditions that are not achievable on Earth, as well as conditions that can be exploited to study mechanisms and pathways that control cell growth and function. Over the past four decades, studies have shown how exposure to micro-gravity alters biological processes that may be relevant to cancer. Fighting Cancer with Microgravity Research.
There are several ways that zero gravity can be used to study cancer cells. One way is to use the reduced gravity to grow larger, more uniform tumors. Cancer cells in weightlessness grow into three-dimensional spheres, rather than the flat, two-dimensional colonies that they form on Earth. These spheres more closely resemble the tumors that form in the body, making them better models for studying the disease.
Another way that weightlessness can be used to study cancer is by looking at how the disease progresses in zero gravity. Studies have shown that cancer cells grow and spread more quickly in microgravity than they do on Earth. This effect is thought to be due to the lack of gravity-induced stress on the cells. In zero gravity, the cells are free from the force of gravity, which allows them to grow and spread more easily.
Lastly, weightlessness can be used to study the effects of radiation on cancer cells. Radiation is a known cause of cancer, and studies in microgravity can help to elucidate the mechanisms by which it causes the disease. Cancer research in micro-gravity is a relatively new field, but it has the potential to provide insights into the disease that could not be gained on Earth. The unique conditions of space offer scientists a new way to study cancer and develop new treatments for the disease.
The International Space Station is an ideal platform for cancer research, as it provides a weightless environment for extended periods of time. Cancer research conducted on the space station has the potential to improve the quality of life for cancer patients around the world.