FLUMIAS team members install the 3D fluorescence microscope that will allow live-cell imaging in microgravity into Payload Card-8 of the TangoLab in preparation for launch aboard the SpaceX Dragon last month. (Credit: DLR)
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Honey, I shrunk the microscope! A miniaturized fluorescence microscope makes it possible to observe changes in living cells in microgravity. Future observations of astronauts’ cells could tell scientists important information about how the body adapts to space.
“An astronaut’s physiology changes during long duration spaceflight because of the lack of gravity,” said Principal Investigator Oliver Ullrich, University of Magdeburg. “Knowing the molecular basis of this cellular response to altered gravity is key for risk management, monitoring, and development of countermeasures for future long-term space exploration. Cellular adaptation to the microgravity environment can only be studied and understood in dynamic or live measurements. Live imaging experiments in space are a crucial contribution to the understanding of cellular adaptation to microgravity.”
An investigation aboard the International Space Station will demonstrate this new technology. FLUMIAS-DEA observes samples of fixed cells and live cells using a modified, patented illumination technique that contributes to the microscope’s smaller size and reduced technical complexity.
“The dimensions of FLUMIAS-DEA can be ...