Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 10-28-2020


This study investigates the unique properties and applications of microgravity in the context of spaceflight research. Understanding and harnessing the behaviors of a microgravity environment opens up the doors to long-term space travel and consequently, future missions to other planets within our solar system. More specifically, simulating and conducting experiments in microgravity environments helps us explore its effects on the various necessary tasks and behaviors that are carried out during spaceflight. The most immediate and pronounced effects of microgravity are on human physiology. In particular, studies have shown that prolonged exposure to microgravity can result in a 20% decrease in muscle mass and a 5% decrease in bone mineral density. As research on these effects continue, astronauts will be better equipped to battle these unusual conditions in order to maintain a healthy and able body during spaceflight. In addition to its effects on the human body, microgravity environments provide promising ways to manufacture materials that would otherwise be too costly or difficult to create on Earth. Manufacturing materials of incredible strength and developing cables that can transmit information at unprecedented speeds are made possible in a microgravity environment. Not only does this paper summarize the currently known effects of microgravity, but it also explores the direct applications of microgravity research in past, present, and future space missions.


This work was originally presented at the 2020 annual meeting of the Geological Society of America, GSA Connects Online.



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