Regulatory systems are affected in space by exposure to weightlessness, high-energy radiation or other spaceflight-induced changes. The impact of spaceflight occurs across multiple scales and systems. Exploring such interactions and interdependencies via an integrative approach provides new opportunities for elucidating these complex responses. This paper argues the case for increased emphasis on integration, systematically archiving, and the coordination of past, present and future space and ground-based analogue experiments. We also discuss possible mechanisms for such integration across disciplines and missions. This article then introduces several discipline-specific reviews that show how such integration can be implemented. Areas explored include: adaptation of the central nervous system to space; cerebral autoregulation and weightlessness; modelling of the cardiovascular system in space exploration; human metabolic response to spaceflight; and exercise, artificial gravity, and physiologic countermeasures for spaceflight. In summary, spaceflight physiology research needs a conceptual framework that extends problem solving beyond disciplinary barriers. Administrative commitment and a high degree of cooperation among investigators are needed to further such a process. Well-designed interdisciplinary research can expand opportunities for broad interpretation of results across multiple physiological systems, which may have applications on Earth.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Physiology (medical)