About this Research Topic
On November 7th 2014, The Institute of Life Sciences of Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy, hosted a workshop titled ‘Biology in Space: Research and Challenges’, devoted to update the audience on the many facets of this branch of research.
Since the very beginning of exploration, it was very clear that space is all but a permissive environment on a living organism. What has become clearer in the recent years is that, for example, the observation of space flight effects on the human body may provide, in an accelerated and somewhat reversible way, important information on aging and degenerative processes that would occur in a much longer time span on earth. So it is evident that while performing bio-medical research in space offers great opportunities of knowledge and development, it also poses important challenges, at many levels, both scientific and technological.
Biological and bio-medical research in space includes studies to answer fundamental, evolutionary question, but also to solve problems of patho-physiological nature whose results should increase protection of human space crews, especially those of long term missions, as well as benefit a much larger number of individuals on Earth.
Protection of human life has several meanings, from the search for habitable exoplanets to building appropriate living quarters outside Earth, with adequate life-supportive engineering solutions.
Our workshop included a presentation on the problem of the anthropology of limit because, after having asked research scientists, astronauts, engineers, medical doctors and industrial enterprise why and how to perform biological research in space, we wanted to ask a philosopher, to put in a humanistic perspective the meaning of the formidable effort required by space exploration.
In principle, we would open the call to all the workshop speakers, but also to other interested scientists. We thought that because of this heterogeneous composition, a journal devoted to space research would be a more appropriate target compared to a strictly biological journal. So, in presenting this proposal we hope it may attract Your curiosity and meet the high standard of ‘Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences’.
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.