participation by international partners, the task group considered it problematic to assume that these facilities would be available on the ISS and thus to U.S. investigators.

The manner in which scientific disciplines in the biological and physical sciences have been categorized and labeled in NASA programs has varied considerably during the past decade. To consider separately every discipline or subdiscipline that is, or has been, defined in NASA programs was not practical in this brief study. However the task group has analyzed a representative sampling of the scientific disciplines that have been supported by the Office of Biological and Physical Research (OBPR), and most of the disciplines that were expected to be heavily dependent on the ISS as a vehicle for future space research are discussed specifically in the chapters that follow.

For the benefit of general readers, the research areas covered in this report are organized into the broad categories of physical sciences, fundamental biology, and bioastronautics (human physiology and performance). It should be noted that these categories do not necessarily align with current OBPR organizational charts, some of which have been considerably altered in recent years. For each discipline examined within those categories, a separate and independent assessment was made of:

  • The impact of ISS changes on the discipline,

  • The factors limiting the utilization of the ISS by that discipline community, and

  • Possible steps for maximizing the research potential of the ISS for that discipline community.

This discipline-by-discipline examination was intended to ensure that the task group understood both the differences and similarities of ISS utilization by the discipline communities in more detail than would have been possible with a more global analysis. Each discipline section of the report, therefore, has a similar structure, and issues common to multiple disciplines appear repeatedly in different sections of the report. The findings and recommendations that are common to many disciplines are summarized in Chapter 5. For issues and recommendations specific to a limited number of disciplines the reader is referred back to the individual chapters.

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