Astronauts have generally spent six months on the Space Station in the last few years but the international partners that run the research platform are looking to do more one-year missions as well as short-duration missions. With new flight opportunities on the horizon for astronauts on both longer and shorter flights ESA is looking for experiments that can be conducted in two months or less.
Investigating how the human body adapts to life in space is crucial to better understanding the complexities of exploring our Solar System. European research discovered that at a cellular level it only takes 42 seconds for organisms to return to normal after being exposed to weightlessness. Why this amount of time and what processes are involved remain open questions - especially when it comes to the entire human body.
For this reason, more research proposals for studying astronauts before and after their flights are required. When we send humans to Moon or Mars, astronauts will be exposed to different levels of gravity and will need to adapt or risk the entire mission. The immediate period when an astronaut returns to Earth from the International Space Station is particularly ripe for scientific insights and recommendations.
What experiments would you put forward for the International Space Station? Visit ESA’s research announcement page for details on how to send in your proposal.