by Staff Writers
Zurich, Switzerland (SPX) Mar 01, 2017
Mammalian cells are optimally adapted to gravity. But what happens in the microgravity environment of space if the earth's pull disappears? Previously, many experiments exhibited cell changes - after hours or even days in zero gravity. Astronauts, however, returned to Earth without any severe health problems after long missions in space, which begs the question as to how capable cells are of adapting to changes in gravity.
Based on real-time readings on the ISS, UZH scientists can now reveal that cells are able to respond to changes in gravitational conditions extremely quickly and keep on functioning. Therefore, the study also provides direct evidence that certain cell functions are linked to gravity.
Test setup and measurement on the ISS
They geared their experimental design towards conducting direct measurements in space: From thawing the test cells to the measurements themselves, ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti performed all the operations directly in the lab on the ISS. The data gathered on the space station was then transmitted to Earth. Rigorous internal and external controls excluded any influence other than gravity.
Cell adaptation in 42 seconds
"Although the immune defense collapsed as soon as zero gravity hit, to our surprise the defense cells made a full recovery within 42 seconds." For Ullrich and Thiel, the direct evidence of a rapid and complete adaptation to zero gravity in less than a minute begs the question as to whether previous cell changes measured after hours or days were also the result of an adaptation process.
Good news for astronauts
In any case, as far as Ullrich is concerned the result of the ISS experiment is good news for manned space flight: "There's hope that our cells are able to cope much better with zero gravity than we previously thought."
After years of preparation, the ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti conducted the experiments in the BIOLAB of the COLUMBUS Module on the ISS. The University of Zurich headed the experiment in collaboration with Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg, the Technical University of Munich, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, the European Space Agency (ESA), the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and NASA's Kennedy Space Center.
Cora S. Thiel, Diane de Zelicourt, Svantje Tauber, Astrid Adrian, Markus Franz, Dana M. Simmet, Kathrin Schoppmann, Swantje Hauschild, Sonja Krammer, Miriam Christen, Gesine Bradacs, Katrin Paulsen, Susanne A. Wolf, Markus Braun, Jason Hatton, Vartan Kurtcuoglu, Stefanie Franke, Samuel Tanner, Samantha Cristoforetti, Beate Sick, Bertold Hock and Oliver Ullrich. Rapid adaptation to microgravity in mammalian macrophage cells. Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 43 (2017). February 27, 2017. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-00119-6
Moscow, Russia (SPX) Feb 22, 2017
Our Galaxy's gravitational field limits the accuracy of astrometric observations of distant objects. This is most clearly appeared for objects that are visually located behind the central regions of the Galaxy and the Galactic plane, where the deviation can be up to several dozen microarcseconds. And, more importantly, the effect of this gravitational "noise" cannot be removed. This means ... read more
University of Zurich
The Physics of Time and Space
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|