Space Products & Innovation
Science, Biotechnology, and Health Care
Space provides a unique environment for testing complicated physical and biochemical processes in the absence of gravity. This causes many processes and reactions to behave differently than they do on Earth and allows for unique scientific inquiries.
Another experiment used satellites to track disease-carrying mice on the Earth and showed that this method could provide early warning of outbreaks of the dangerous Hantavirus, a disease that kills about ##% of those infected.
The world’s largest biotechnology company, Amgen, launched 30 mice on NASA’s final shuttle mission in July 2011 to test an antibody that could help prevent bone loss. The lack of gravity during space flight causes loss of bone mass in humans, and scientists are hoping that these experiments will determine whether the antibody can reduce this effect.
Since 2001, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics have been studying plasma, which is electrically charged gas. Based on this research, these scientists are now developing a new way for hospitals to keep patients safe from infections.
Suborbital spaceflight companies are hoping to provide future researchers with a quicker, cheaper method of carrying out research in space, even if only for a few minutes at a time. Given the unique conditions experienced on these flights, companies expect that scientists will use this opportunity to carry out experiments in many areas, including materials science, biology, astronomy, and climate research.
Our understanding of the Universe relies on scientific theories, and it is important that these theories be tested using available methods. In May 2011, scientists working on the Gravity Probe B project announced that a set of orbiting gyroscopes had reaffirmed Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity.
NASA imaging technology used to calculate the depths of lakes on Earth from space can also be used to fight breast cancer. Using spatial imaging software originally created to assist NASA in assessing the relative density and composition of landforms, Bartron Medical Imaging is developing the MED-SEG system.
Satellite-enabled remote telemedicine can also be valuable for passengers on an airplane who may require emergency medical attention. In September 2010, Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, installed the Tempus IC telemedicine system.