Tuesday November 13, 2018
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NASA is Currently Exploring Commercialising Operations

Bridenstine also noted that this could spread NASA's influence in pop culture, the report said

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L'Ralph needs to have many capabilities in a small, light body structure to keep the spacecraft efficient and the mission productive.Flickr
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NASA is exploring the feasibility of commercialising the agency’s operations in low Earth orbit to lower its costs while its eyes turn toward the Moon and Mars, the media reported.

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine has unveiled an “Advisory Council committee” that will explore some of these plans, which could include product endorsements from astronauts and even selling the naming rights to rockets and other spacecraft, the Engadget reported.

According to Mike Gold, head of the Committee, the committee would also consider scrapping “obsolete” regulations to let US astronauts support private activities aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Companies should not have to “turn to Russian cosmonauts” for private operations, suggesting that astronauts could even be involved in filming ads, he was quoted as saying.

Gold said the possibilities could include having NASA receive reimbursement when commercial space companies sell spots on spacecraft heading for the ISS, and leveraging those funds for access or services on future private-sector space stations.

NASA
NASA mulling product endorsements, selling naming rights. Pixabay

“Our companies should not have to turn to Russian cosmonauts to execute commercial operations,” Gold was quoted as saying by the GeekWire.

“When new industrial substance are created, commercial experiments conducted, or even advertisements filmed, American astronauts should lead the way.”

While Bridenstine stressed that he did not know if this kind of commercialisation was possible (hence the committee), he noted that the move might help NASA compete with private spaceflight companies.

Also Read- Report: Tesla Misses Model 3 Car Production Target

The US has a shortage of military pilots precisely because they can make more money with airlines, the administrator argued — there could be a similar problem if they’re tempted away by the likes of SpaceX — a California-based private aerospace manufacturer.

Bridenstine also noted that this could spread NASA’s influence in pop culture, the report said. (IANS)

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NASA to Send Organ-on-Chips To Test Human Tissue Health in Space

Called a micro-physiological system, a tissue chip needs three main properties

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NASA to send tissue chips to space to test human health, genetic changes. Flcikr

NASA is planning to send small devices containing human cells in a 3D matrix — known as tissue chips or organs-on-chips — to the International Space Station (ISS) to test how they respond to stress, drugs and genetic changes.

Made of flexible plastic, tissue chips have ports and channels to provide nutrients and oxygen to the cells inside them.

The “Tissue Chips in Space” initiative seeks to better understand the role of microgravity on human health and disease and to translate that understanding to improved human health on Earth, NASA said.

“Spaceflight causes many significant changes in the human body,” said Liz Warren, Associate Program Scientist at the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) in the US.

Kepler, NASA, tissue
This illustration made available by NASA shows the Kepler Space Telescope. As of October 2018, the planet-hunting spacecraft has been in space for nearly a decade. VOA

“We expect tissue chips in space to behave much like an astronaut’s body, experiencing the same kind of rapid change,” Warren said.

The US space agency is planning the investigations in collaboration with CASIS and the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the National Institutes for Health (NIH).

Many of the changes in the human body caused by microgravity resemble the onset and progression of diseases associated with ageing on Earth, such as bone and muscle loss. But the space-related changes occur much faster.

That means scientists may be able to use tissue chips in space to model changes that might take months or years to happen on Earth.

Parkinson's Disease, Kepler, NASA, tissue
A researcher takes a tissue sample from a human brain at the Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s UK Tissue Bank, VOA

This first phase of Tissue Chips in Space includes five investigations. An investigation of immune system ageing is planned for launch on the SpaceX CRS-16 flight, scheduled for this year.

The other four, scheduled to launch on SpaceX CRS-17 or subsequent flights, include lung host defense, the blood-brain barrier, musculoskeletal disease and kidney function.

In addition, four more projects are scheduled for launch in summer 2020, including two on engineered heart tissue to understand cardiovascular health, one on muscle wasting and another on gut inflammation.

Kepler, NASA, tissue
“Detecting life in an agnostic fashion means not using characteristics particular to Earth life,” said Heather Graham at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Pixabay

Also called a micro-physiological system, a tissue chip needs three main properties, according to Lucie Low, scientific programme manager at National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences in the US.

Also Read: NASA’s Ralph Will Explore Jupiter’s Trojan Asteroids in 2021

“It has to be 3D, because humans are 3D,” she explained.

“It must have multiple, different types of cells, because an organ is made up of all kinds of tissue types. And it must have microfluidic channels, because every single tissue in your body has vasculature to bring in blood and nutrients and to take away detritus,” she added. (IANS)