Gravity Sensing Research and Applications

Profiles & Overviews | Flight Hardware

Key Research Questions

Profiles & Overviews

A Critical Period for Vestibular Development
Description: This article profiles an experiment that determined there is a critical period in the development of zebrafish, in which normal gravity must be experienced in order for the vestibular system to develop properly. (Posted on 11/03)

Genetic Factors in Gravity Sensing in Plants
Description: This article profiles research that so far has identified two genes associated with gravity sensing and signal transduction. (Posted on 7/00)

Gravity Detection in Plants
Description: This article profiles research into how plants perceive and respond to gravity. (Posted on 7/00)

How the Brain Distinguishes Gravity
Description: This article profiles research that suggests that the brain senses and processes gravity by integrating signals from two different sets of organs in the vestibular system. (Posted on 11/03)

Mechanical Stimuli Factsheet
Description: This factsheet offers a brief overview of current NASA research into the perception and response of biological organisms to mechanical stimuli. (Posted on 7/00)

Plant Perception and Response to Gravity
Description: This article profiles research into how plants sense and respond to gravity, in particular the biochemical and molecular events involving calcium, which is thought to play an important role in plants' processing of gravitational signals. (Posted on 11/03)

Role of Balance Organs in Posture Control
Description: This article profiles a study of astronauts that revealed information about the role of the otolith organs in posture control. (Posted on 11/03)

Role of Gravity in Mammalian Development
Description: This article chronicles research that found that exposure to gravity is important for normal vestibular system development in rat fetuses. (Posted on 11/03)

Flight Hardware

Frog Otolith Experiment Package
Sea Frog Otolith Experiment Package

Description: The Frog Otolith Experiment Package, designed to study the effect of microgravity on the vestibular system, flew on Orbiting Frog Otolith-A. (Excerpt from Life into Space 1965-1990) (Posted on 12/00)