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Fundamentals of Space Biology: Research on Cells, Animals, and Plants in Space (Space Technology Library) [Hardcover]

Gilles Clément , K. Slenzka

RRP: £135.00
Price: £92.18 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

12 July 2006 0470745711 978-0387331133 2006

This book examines the effects of spaceflight at cellular and organism levels. Research on the effects of gravity - or its absence - and ionizing radiation on the evolution, development, and function of living organisms is presented in layman's terms. The book describes the benefits of space biology for basic and applied research to support human space exploration and the advantages of space as a laboratory for scientific, technological, and commercial research.


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This book is intended as an overview at the undergraduate or early university level and describes the effects of spaceflight at cellular and organism levels. Past, current, and future research on the effects of gravity--or its absence--and ionizing radiation on the evolution, development, and function of living organisms is presented in layman's terms by researchers who have been active in this field. The purpose is to enlighten science and non-science readers to the benefits of space biology research for conducting basic and applied research to support human exploration of space. Also covered are the advantages of approaching the space environment as a laboratory for scientific, technological, and commercial research.

The first chapters present an overview of the major focuses of space research in biology, as well as the history and the list of animals and plants that have flown in space to date. The following chapters describe the main results of space studies in gravitational biology, developmental biology, radiation biology, and biotechnology. A brief background is given in each chapter, so that only a minimum of prior coursework in biology is necessary for full comprehension.


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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
4.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes interesting, deeply career focused 18 Aug 2010
By Jorge Luis Hevia Casanova - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As "almost" an engineer that will probably focus part of its future in Space technology, this book showed me the current biology research's state of the art. To this point, I must clarify that this book indeed got some of the info that I have been looking for in order to design future biological related space flight systems, but many of its contents are deeply dark for the vast people's majority. I have been trained into Biology basics before entering University, so I got some back-knowledge to understand most of this book's content genetics and cell's basic working. For the non topic related trained people, this book will flood you with an impressive useless and not understable amount of data, so your final impression should be somehow a deception.

This books, in general, shows how many and which biology experiments have been accomplished into space, even if you do not know whaever the flora and fauna it is speaking of, so at the end, biological more than basics trainning is a must.

As engineer, there is little information about working systems. Where they are mentioned, there is no explananation on why and how system works, which in some cases may lead to the finality of such an invention. Maybe for a biologist this book may be ok, but not for an engineer, or just, systems engineer.

From a technical's point of view, many of the approaches into biological systems are fairly poor, since most of the experiments achieved in space lacks of the most basic scientific accuracy it should be expected from. Basic physics shows that space centrifugators used to mimic Earth's gravity are positioning dependant, so maybe just at edges, real 1g is obtained (not just for 2D (plane) centrifugators, but also for 3D ones). This partial "avoiding" of Earth's g influence, in essence, makes almost all biological experiments in space, not conclusive, since many of this book's content just study gravity's effect on cells and bio-systems.Thus, in my opinion, many of the "succeded" experiments are not just but expensive tries.

To this point, I cannot say it is completelly a useless try, or even an useless book, cause as usual, many biological developments on cells have been discovered.

The only interesting point I have seen is the radioactive direct effects on bio-systems, although at the beginning's introduction, some trained radiologist may get lost with un-accurate radiology definitions. Later on, in the related topic part, it is better explained and corrected. Since there is no apparent gravity's effect on radiactivity behaviour on cells, this study may be certainly a good starting point, considering auto-regenerative limitations on special's g environment.

Finally, as engineer, I asked myself: well, you enjoy a lot speaking and studying gravity, so, why the hell dont you study which minimum gravity is required to maintain a complex human bio-system working as it will on Earth?. Maybe a stupid question, but not resolved as of yet. Instead seeing how gravity affects living organisms, look for the Earth's bio-systems minimum gravity point. Then, study what happens under such a limits.

I have set this 4 star qualifications because topic seems to be interesting (I ordered it due it), and I am sure it is for biologist, but some "real" engineer will miss tons of things that should be explained first. I enjoyed a lot the NASA crew members photos along the whole book, but little useless, cause there is no information in there, just "family photos". I know there have been some photos inside from the Columbia's astronauts, but there are better ways to remember them, than publishing without any sense. For me, in general, it is a boring reading book, although there are few interesting data among its 300 paper sheets.

If you want to see how some animals and plants reacts to gravity, expect funny things as the Homer Simpson and chip's flight in space. If you want to know how to maintain those living organism alive on space, this book isnt for you.
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