Space Cargo Unlimited charters pressurized spaceships with return capacity. It empowers research and manufacturing missions in Low Earth Orbit, unleashing the impact of the space environment to forge a variety of high-impact products for Earth, from life sciences to new materials. Working in collaboration with the science team from its biotech subsidiary, Space Biology Unlimited, on November 2nd 2019, Space Cargo Unlimited launches the first privately-lead comprehensive research program on the ISS: Mission WISE, with a particular focus on the future of agriculture for a changing Earth.
Over billions of years, Gravity has shaped life on Earth by constantly influencing biological and physical phenomena during all stages of developmental history. Indeed, Gravity is the only parameter of Life that has not drastically evolved since Earth’s formation, as opposed to others such as temperature, light, pressure or humidity. It therefore played a major role in shaping evolution and life and matter as we know them today. To counteract gravity, living organisms for instance, developed systems to provide cell membrane rigidity, fluid flow regulation, and appropriate structural support for locomotion.
Experiments on the International Space Station have proven that gravity influences the way that cells behave and develop in a profound and subtle manner. In Low Earth Orbit, cells exposed to near-zero gravity (microgravity) are affected by physical changes that occur in this unique environment, that is impossible to recreate on Earth. These changes include loss of gravity-dependent convection, negligible hydrodynamic shear, increased membrane fluidity, and lack of sedimentation.
This leads to significant evolutions in the way that the cells respond to a wide array of environmental and internal biophysical stresses. Enzymatic, genetic, and epigenetic pathways change in concert, leading to modifications in the shape, function, and behavior of cells and tissues.
Space Cargo Unlimited believes these dynamics, properly leveraged on matter from Earth, can provide significant developments in the fields of agriculture and health care on Earth.
Exposure of plants and other biomaterials to the space environment and radiation, in combination with other abiotic and biotic stressors, will trigger a variety of molecular responses to enhance natural defenses. The molecular machinery and mechanisms that result in the evolution of biological systems in the space environment will include changes in gene expression, mutation, hyper-induction of transcription, epigenetic regulation of gene activity, inhibition or acceleration of RNA decay of stress-induced transcripts, stabilization of specific transcripts, and/or accumulation of signaling molecules. It is the combination of these responses that will change the global systemic organization of plants and enhance their recovery abilities back on Earth.