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Scientists and Students Discuss the Future of Space Research at ASGSR Annual Conference

Dr. Lisa Carnell (right) and Dr. Bonnie Dunbar (left) on stage presenting at the main conference podium. Both women are wearing dark, formal business attire.
Dr. Lisa Carnell, NASA’s Biological and Physical Sciences' (BPS) Division Director, presenting keynote remarks with Dr. Bonnie Dunbar at the 2023 American Space and Gravitational Research Conference (ASGSR).

The American Society for Gravitational and Space Research’s (ASGSR) annual meeting brought together over 850 scientists, engineers, educators, and students from around the world to share their latest findings on microgravity research and discuss the future of space exploration. ASGSR stands at the forefront for fostering groundbreaking research and highlighting the cutting-edge science happening now using microgravity, low-gravity, radiation, and other space-based stressors.

The meeting, held in Washington, D.C., November 14-18, 2023, featured a variety of general and technical sessions, student fireside chats, and working sessions exploring the conference’s theme: The Future of Space Exploration: Challenges and Opportunities.

Dr. Lisa Carnell, NASA’s Biological and Physical Sciences' (BPS) Division Director, opened the conference with her keynote presentation on the state of BPS. Carnell shared that if the U.S. wants to maintain science leadership, with the intent to go farther and stay longer in space, we must continue to pioneer transformative science at the frontiers of biology and physical sciences. Carnell encouraged attendees to look ahead for ways to support the technologies and infrastructure that will be needed to carry out this science.

Former astronaut Dr. Bonnie Dunbar echoed Carnell’s remarks as she expressed the need for adequate funding of this scientific and space-based research as a critical path needed for sustainable exploration. Dunbar challenged the group to build upon the pioneering work of BPS to inspire the next generation of space scientists, engineers, and astronauts.

ASGSR hosted over 300 presentations where speakers and participants shared their latest findings and discussed the future of space exploration, a few highlighted topics follow:

  • The development of new technologies to enable sustainable space exploration
  • The effects of gravity on biological systems
  • The need to support the commercial space industry to ensure the continuation of research and success of the commercial space economy
  • The growing importance of international collaboration in space research
  • The potential of space exploration to benefit life on Earth
  • The search for new knowledge about the universe
  • The use of space-based research to address global challenges such as climate change and food security

Next year’s ASGSR conference will be held in Puerto Rico, December 3-7, 2024.