Introduction to Microgravity
Tutorial on Microgravity Research

Tutorial on Microgravity Research

page 3: Comparison Photograph's Showing Materials Produced in Microgravity vs. Materials Produced in Earth Gravity

Improved crystals of bovine insulin leads to better understanding of insulin and helps improve treatment for diabetes.

Anchorage dependent cells-- cells that must attach to something to grow-- attached to a polymer and grown in a bioreactor in microgravity will lead to the production of a commercial protein that is closer in structure and function to the

three-dimensional protein in a living body. This will help reduce or eliminate transpant rejectionn and is therefore crucial for organ transplantsand for the replacement of damaged bone and tissues. Rejection of artificial transpants will also be significantly reduced or eliminated.

In the US alone, there are over 20,000 organ transplants and 480,000 bone and skin grafts perfomred annually. (Source: 1999 Statistical Abstract of the United States). These procedures will alll be improved by products generated in microgravity.

Biotechnology product sales are over $15.6 billion annually. (Source: US Industry and Trade Outlook 1999)

A burning candle is an example of the common combusiotn process. Combustion accounts for 85% of the world's energy usage: electric power production, home heating, ground transportation, spacecraft and aircraft propulsion and materials processing, all use combustion to convert chemical energy to thermal energy or propulsion force.

An enhanced understanding of combustion, made possible by experiments performed in microgravity without the complexity of gravity-induced effects, will lead to new technolgies that reduce pollutants, and improve fuel efficiency.

A mere 1% increase in oil efficiency, such as improving the gas mileage of your car from 25 miles per gallon to 25.25 miles per gallon, would equate to a savings of nearly 100 million barrels of oil for the US annually, or nearly $5.5 million a day. (Source: NASA)