Tinny-box sized miniature lab starts science experiment in outer space

17 March 2017, 09:29 PM
Tinny-box sized miniature lab starts science experiment in outer space
Tinny-box sized miniature lab starts science experiment in outer space

Orbiting the earth at more than 500 kilometres (300 miles), one of 104 satellites launched by Indian Space Research Organization’s PSLV-C37 rocket on Feb. 15, the tinny space lab called DIDO is allowing researchers to remotely control vital scientific experiments anywhere from Earth.

The technology was launched into space last month by SpacePharma, a Swiss-Israeli company, which on Thursday announced that its first experiments have been completed successfully.

In space, with hardly any interference from earth’s gravity, cells and molecules behave differently, helping researchers make discoveries in fields from medicine to agriculture. Nestle turned to zero gravity – or what scientists refer to as microgravity – to perfect the foam in its chocolate mousse. Drug companies like Eli Lilly have used it to improve its pharmaceuticals.

Until now, the experiments were sent up to the International Space Station and carried out with the help of astronauts

The experiments were also conducted on parabolic airplane flights that enjoy short bursts of weightlessness

Clients then receive data and images from the experiment, which are carried out on custom-built glass chips, and can be run multiple times to test different reactions

A second launch, also with four experiments, is scheduled for August and includes research for a top tier pharmaceutical company

By next year, SpacePharma hopes to begin sending up satellites that each hold some 160 experiments.

First Published: Friday, March 17, 2017 10:21 AM
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