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In developing this chapter, the committee has relied heavily on briefings and published information from the study’s sponsor, published scientific articles, and two recent National Research Council (NRC) reports.
In his 2005 memoir, Lewis described his former partner as one of the greatest comedic talents of all time. Would it be possible to eat and drink in microgravity? Although humans have adapted to weightlessness, readapting to Earth’s gravity is problematic. For this reason, all aspects of this issue must be considered from the point of view of the possibility of functioning in microgravity. Humans evolved in gravity; how the body would function in its absence or near absence was an unanswered question. Thus, selected fit and healthy humans have been sent into space for three decades and have functioned well (Lane and Schoeller, 2000).This chapter responds to the portion of NASA’s charge to the IOM committee to “conduct an independent assessment of the current status of scientific knowledge” relevant to providing optimal health care for astronauts traveling beyond Earth orbit.In so doing, the chapter describes the effects of weightlessness and space travel on the physiology and functioning of the human body.