Recent Groundbreaking Research in Space Travel

Take a look at the market landscape of space travel, recent innovation activity, and scientific literature to gain a full picture of where our understanding of life beyond earth is headed.

Recent Groundbreaking Research in Space Travel

With the growing interest in space flight and deep space exploration, more research is focusing on how to make life outside of earth habitable for human beings, and at what cost. In this blog, we’ll look at the market landscape of space travel, recent innovation activity, and scientific literature to gain a full picture of where our understanding of life beyond earth is headed.

Market Overview:

According to the Cypris Innovation Dashboard, over the past year alone, 15 new organizations entered the space travel industry (13 of which were startups) and the majority were based in USA. The past year also saw 406 new patents across 22 different countries, 10,549 new research papers, and 26,156 news articles published in the space.  The majority of news articles focused on new products, and across the board media coverage was positive.

News category breakdown

Of the patents published, 15.46% were created by the top 3 entities: NANJING SANLE GROUP CO LTD, ANHUI HUADONG PHOTOELEC TECH, and EMULATE INC. Below, you can see the breakdown of patent activity by region.

Patent count by region

In the recent months, a number of new scientific studies have been released on efforts to make life in outer space habitable for human beings, and the impact of travel on the body and brain. Let's dive into a few of these findings.

Creating Oxygen in Space Using Magnets:

Researchers at the University of Warwick have invented a new way to make oxygen for astronauts using magnets. To provide oxygen in space, NASA currently uses centrifuges, which are large machines that require significant mass, power, and maintenance. As a result, scientists have been looking for a sustainable way to create air in space.

This study focused on the phenomenon of magnetically-induced buoyancy. The researchers engineered a procedure to detach gas bubbles from electrode surfaces in microgravity environments at the Bremen Drop Tower. The results revealed for the first time that gas bubbles can be ‘attracted to’ and ‘repelled from’ a neodymium magnet in microgravity within various solutions.

According to Dr. Katharina Brinkert of the University of Warwick Department of Chemistry Center for Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM), “Efficient phase separation in reduced gravitational environments is an obstacle for human space exploration and known since the first flights to space in the 1960s. This phenomenon is a particular challenge for the life support system onboard spacecraft and the International Space Station (ISS) as oxygen for the crew is produced in water electrolyzer systems and requires separation from the electrode and liquid electrolyte.”

The results of this study could help generate breathable atmospheres for future space travel to the moon and Mars.

Space Travel’s Impact on the Body's Bone Mass & Stem Cells:

For those who stay in space for longer periods of time, the most prominent side effect is the loss of bone mass. New research now claims that living in space can also accelerate the process of bone aging, and irreparably damage bone structure.

The study assessed 14 male and three female astronauts, average age 47, whose missions ranged from four to seven months in space, with an average of about 5-1/2 months. The results showed that 1 year after their return from space, the astronauts on average exhibited 2.1% reduced bone mineral density at the tibia and 1.3% reduced bone strength. Nine of the 17 astronauts had not completely recovered a full year after returning from space.

"Astronauts experienced significant bone loss during six-month spaceflights - loss that we would expect to see in older adults over two decades on Earth, and they only recovered about half of that loss after one year back on Earth," Gabel said.

Additionally, another recent study focused on 14 astronauts from NASA’s space shuttle program whose white blood samples were stored for 20 years. Researchers found that the astronauts were more likely to have somatic mutations in their genes. The DNA mutations in blood-forming stem cells are at the root of several types of blood cancer.

Space Travel’s Impact on the Brain:

We know that space travel impacts the body, but what does it do to the brain? In this study, 12 cosmonauts who spent an average of six months aboard the International Space Station were scanned in an MRI scanner pre-flight, ten days after flight, and at a follow-up time point seven months after flight.

The results revealed "significant microstructural changes" in the white matter that manages communications within the brain, and to and from the rest of the body, as well as fluid shifts. In particular, the research team spotted changes in neural tracts related to sensory and motor functions, and believe this could have something to do with the cosmonauts' adaptation to life in microgravity while in outer space.

Whether through creating oxygen in outer space, or studying how travel impacts the brain and body, significant advances are being made in the space travel industry. For more data on patents and innovative research papers in the space travel field, visit and get started with access to the innovation dashboard.

If you’d like to explore recent patents filed, you can search through our global patent search engine for free here:


Cypris innovation dashboard; Query: space travel