ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst working on fire experiment on Station

About research in space

Gravity affects everything we do on Earth but we know surprisingly little about how it works and how it affects life. Until recently scientists had no way of experimenting without gravity to understand what life would be like without it.

About research in space

Orbiting our planet in an extended free-fall, astronauts on the International Space Station live in microgravity. Through the astronauts up there, scientists are conducting pioneering investigations, testing theories, and pushing the boundaries of our knowledge.

Research in space improves our life on Earth. Space research brings knowledge, discoveries, improvements to our daily life and – one day – the daily lives of explorers of our solar system.

Exploring nature

Fluorescent microscopic view of bone cancer cells

The studies of life and physical sciences in space are well established fields that complement terrestrial research programmes.

Biology, physiology, fluid physics and combustion, material sciences, fundamental physics and  astrobiology are all studied in space, observing how gravity affects basic phenomena on Earth and expanding our knowledge of the world around us.

Improving health

Bedsuit

Space offers unique possibilities to study health problems related to diseases, ageing and immobility.

Research focuses on osteoporosis, muscle atrophy and nutrition, and tries to understand the effects of physiological adaptations for health and safety and ways to counteract unwanted changes in the human body. Spaceflight is a driving force behind developing advanced medical instruments for monitoring and diagnostics.

Innovating technologies

Microgravity flame

Studies in weightlessness can reveal properties that are important for energy production or environmental protection. Space research has already increased knowledge on combustion, liquids in porous substances and how dust particles behave.

These studies are expected to lead to low-pollution high-efficiency combustion for power plants, aircraft and cars, as well as  improved crude oil-recovery and innovative air and water purification techniques. Increased knowledge of life-support technology used in spaceflight  will make our diets safer.

Caring for the environment

Studies in weightlessness can reveal properties that are important for energy production or environmental protection. Space research has already increased knowledge on combustion, liquids in porous substances and how dust particles behave.

These studies are expected to lead to low-pollution high-efficiency combustion in for power plants, aircraft and cars as well as improved crude oil-recovery and innovative air and water purification techniques. Increased knowledge of life-support technology used in spaceflight will make our diets safer.

Earth glinting in the sun

Last update: 16 January 2015

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