I think I understand better. Although, I am now realizing this question is a bit out of scope for SAGANet. I can definitely understand how astrobiology may blend itself with spirituality at times, but we are scientists so we aren't experts in spiritual practices. Apologies for the misunderstanding!
Hi Sidney! Glad you joined us. Sanjoy Som, one of our Experts, has written an article for questions such as yours, since it is such a common and important question! This article should get you started:
Next, please check out our resources page! You can find it at the top bar. We try to keep it up to date with all of the school programs, online courses, books, and more that you can get into to make your search for a career as thorough as possible. It's exciting that you're getting started so early! That can only help you.
The general process in the United States for applying to graduate school is all I can give advice on, since it is the only system I am at all familiar with. Is that what you are looking for? Are you looking for a program in a different country?
For the United States system, the key is to first identify what specific research interests you have and then visit websites of various programs (we have a list here) to learn about what different individual professors study. At that point, you can begin to contact them directly to find out if they have space in their lab for a PhD student. It's important to explain why you are seeking to work in their lab specifically. Coming across as being interested in "any lab, I just want to go to grad school" will send the message that you are not focused. Since you have research experience, though, I imagine this won't be difficult for you to narrow down what you'd like to study.
This process may be similar in European countries, though I cannot say for certain. I will ping our experts who are outside the US to see if they can reply to you with any advice. We do have experts who are in India. Specifically, there is Astrobiology India and our colleague Siddharth who you can reach here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Best of luck to you,
Hi Kyle! Welcome to Saganet. I passed your question on to some of our Experts! Their replies will be found here, please allow a few days for them to get back to you. Glad to have you in the community!
I had to do a little bit of research on this one (not my expertise).
Apparently yes, humans lose 1-2% of bone mass per month in microgravity according to this Sci Am article.
I don't think there have been any vertebrates able to go through the full reproductive cycle in space.
- In a Chinese experiment onboard the Shijian-10 uncrewed capsule for a few days in 2016, mouse embryos kept developing. But these were already fertilized eggs when they were launched and did not go all the way to birth during the few days of the flight. Here are a popular article and a 2018 presentation to the US National Academies that includes a photo of ....
- Mice were born on Earth from sperm stored on the International Space Station for 9 months. This article goes into the history of trying to mate mice in space and this scientific paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences describes the results: PNAS-mice.pdf.
- My speculation about what would happen to the offspring of mice having lost bone and reproduced in microgravity: it looks like the expression of genes controlling the formation and destruction of bone cells changes in microgravity, i.e. these genes are muted. Here is an open-access scientific paper about this. But that would suggest these genes are still passed on to the next generation. Likely, in microgravity the offspring would still have less bone (muted gene expression), but I'd suspect that if the offspring were placed under gravity (by e.g. landing on a planet or spinning the Space Station), the bone would grow back because the genes would still be present. According to the article above, it's only the load-bearing bones that lose mass in microgravity, the others are not affected.
I hope this helps!