NASA 3-D printable tools may analyze the astronaut health

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3-D printable tools

NASA developing a 3-D printable tools on the International Space Station (ISS), that can handle liquids like blood samples without spilling in microgravity.

NASA said, how microscopic organisms influence astronaut health, or how qualities influence aging and disease, can guarantee the security of long haul missions. To clarify these doubts, NASA launches a new project, omics in space, to build up a technology on omics in the fields of microbiology.

Omics in Space project

The project driven by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Kasthuri Venkateswaran, principal investigator of the Omics in Space project, said, this project will develop an automated system for studying molecular biology with minimal crew intervention.

The previous omics experiments examined the microbial diversity on the space station. But there is no way to process samples on the station, so they must sent down to Earth.

While, the challenge on preparing samples is handling fluids in microgravity. Astronauts collect a variety of samples, including their saliva and blood, also microbes covered from the walls of the ISS.

These samples should mix with water and inject into instruments of investigation. Without proper tools, samples can spill, float or form air bubbles that could bargain comes about.

In 2016, NASA made a major step by sequencing DNA in space. In experiment, astronauts used a small, hand-held sequencing tool called the MinION.

NASA said, the Omics in Space project will expand on this success by building up an automated DNA/RNA extractor which will prepare samples for a MinION. The 3D printable plastic cartridge expected to remove nucleic acids from the samples for the MinION sequencing.

Camilla Urbaniak, a post-doctoral researcher at JPL, said, this technology has tested on Earth. We are taking what’s on Earth to analyze DNA and consolidating all the steps into an automated system. Now, we are developing a one-stop-shop that can extract and process all these samples.

The field of epigenetic studies could explain how microgravity and cosmic rays affect our DNA.