xlarge NASA to test Microflow in space on the ISS

The device may not be a one ton laboratory on wheels like the Curiosity Mars rover, but NASA claims that its latest 10kg gadget, which it will send up to the International Space Station, has the ability to diagnose many ailments within just ten minutes!

xlarge NASA to test Microflow in space on the ISS

The device may not be a one ton laboratory on wheels like the Curiosity Mars rover, but NASA claims that its latest 10kg gadget, which it will send up to the International Space Station, has the ability to diagnose many ailments within just ten minutes!

It’s called a Microflow, and it can carry out bioanalysis as well as make clinical diagnoses despite its puny figure.  Inside the toaster-size flow cytometer are sophisticated components that can analyze cells rapidly utilizing fiber-optic and laser technologies.  With just a single pass of a liquid sample, the Microflow can make an accurate diagnosis as to the physical and chemical conditions of cells.

Developed by the Quebec-based National Optics Institute External in Canada, the Microflow is much lighter than conventional Earth-bound flow cytometers.  Normal flow cytometry equipment weighs hundreds of pounds, and because the expense of sending equipment into space is on a weight basis, the Microflow is a very cost effective tool for analyzing biological conditions in space.

NASA will test the Microflow during Astronaut Chris Hadfield’s six-month mission, and if the technology is proven successful then it will undoubtedly become a must-have diagnostic tool for future missions.

Prior to the Microflow’s proposal, astronauts had to send their samples back to earth if they wanted to analyze their medical conditions during long-term space missions.  With the Microflow, the expense of having to use Earth-bound equipment can be a cost-cutting measure that may help divert funds to more important sectors of space exploration.

The Microflow’s use, if successful, is not limited to just space because here on Earth there are millions of people that cannot afford nor have access to medical facilities for diagnosis of an ailment.  The device’s portability can aid traveling medical professionals in reaching and helping areas that are still lacking in sophisticated lab equipment.

677139main microflow XL NASA to test Microflow in space on the ISS

Source: NASA