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Elizabeth Cantwell Colloquium Abstract (Nov 30, 2016)

The Future of Basic Research Focused on Humans in Space after Space Station is De-Orbited

Space research has long been limited by availability of platforms with which to conduct the scientific inquiry desired.  In the case of space life sciences, that inquiry was initially driven by the desire to send humans into space (and have them survive), followed by interest in longer duration human space habitation, followed by a drive to understand what it will take to have humans inhabit other planets in our solar system for years or longer.  At the same time, the availability of low and zero-gravity platforms such as the ISS have made fundamental scientific discoveries about biological function in the absence of a critical parameter like gravity possible.  These studies, facilitated largely by the research infrastructure available on the ISS, have just begun to yield new and interesting results.  The focus of this talk is the complex interplay of basic and applied science, design and employment of scarce research infrastructure and the importance of space life sciences in the future of space research as the US plans to decamp the ISS in 2024 and as NewSpace companies become a larger and larger component of the space infrastructure panorama.