A study performed on the NASA space shuttle Discovery showed that microgravity inhibits the regenerative potential of embryonic stem cells.
Since the discovery of stem cells, NASA researchers have been interested in how they are influenced by space travel. Exposure to microgravity often causes the breakdown of tissue and function, which poses serious challenges to the health of astronauts in space. Astronauts experience muscle atrophy, bone density loss, and slower heart rates in orbit. Affected tissues often rely on tissue-specific stem cells for regeneration and repair. Thus, studies examining the maintenance of tissue regenerative health during spaceflight are critical.