Spacelab J: Microgravity and life sciencesSpacelab J is a joint venture between NASA and the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA). Using a Spacelab pressurized long module, 43 experiments will be performed in the areas of microgravity and life sciences. These experiments benefit from the microgravity environment available on an orbiting Shuttle. Removed from the effects of gravity, scientists will seek to observe processes and phenomena impossible to study on Earth, to develop new and more uniform mixtures, to study the effects of microgravity and the space environment on living organisms, and to explore the suitability of microgravity for certain types of research. Mission planning and an overview of the experiments to be performed are presented. Orbital research appears to hold many advantages for microgravity science investigations, which on this mission include electronic materials, metals and alloys, glasses and ceramics, fluid dynamics and transport phenomena, and biotechnology. Gravity-induced effects are eliminated in microgravity. This allows the investigations on Spacelab J to help scientists develop a better understanding of how these gravity-induced phenomena affect both processing and products on Earth and to observe subtle phenomena that are masked in gravity. The data and samples from these investigations will not only allow scientists to better understand the materials but also will lead to improvements in the methods used in future experiments. Life sciences research will collect data on human adaptation to the microgravity environment, investigate ways of assisting astronauts to readapt to normal gravity, explore the effects of microgravity and radiation on living organisms, and gather data on the fertilization and development of organisms in the absence of gravity. This research will improve crew comfort and safety on future missions while helping scientists to further understand the human body.