none
none

RADIATION TESTING AND ORGAN CHIPS HEAD INTO SPACE

22-06-2017
by 
in 
The International Space Station, pictured above, is an internationally valuable hub for scientific research.

Research is tackling the twin issues of radiation and organ malaise, two issues which present problems to anyone putting machinery (or people) in space. 

BAE Systems has been working to improve the technical reliability of space and satellite operations through emerging radiation-hardening applications.

Satellite sensor and guidance technology are often more challenged and susceptible to radiation interference in a space environment given the state of current electronics, said Jim LaRosa, program director for space computers at BAE Systems.

“A charged particle can impact a device and impose significant damage; it can essentially deposit charge into a circuit causing electronic noise and signal spikes within the device. This can result in erroneous data or bad commands being passed. Depending upon the situation, the result may be as limited as modifying the accuracy of a sensor input or something that requires a computer reset or even permanent damage” LaRosa said.

BAE Systems, which supports a wide array of U.S. military satellites, offers a radiation tolerance technology engineered to improve reliability. Missions involving this technology include ensuring secure military communications, imaging for commercial communications and various kinds of environmental monitoring.

For example, BAE Systems computers have controlled all three generations of the Mars Rovers and Mars observation satellites, LaRosa said. Operators control the rovers remotely from Earth using visual sensors connected to a control station.

On the organic side of things, a new $2 million grant will fund new technology to evaluate the effects of space travel on human brain cells at the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory.

The grant, funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, a center of the National Institute of Health, will go to Emulate Inc., for the Boston-based company’s Organs-on-Chips technology.

The company will use their Brain-Chip system and develop a fully automated research platform for experiments on ISS to be conducted under healthy and inflamed states to assess how space travel affects neuronal function, as well better understand how the human brain operates on Earth.

According to an Emulate press release, the ISS "provides an environment where researchers can study human health in microgravity, allowing them to decouple the force of gravity from other effects that can impact brain cell function."

Both of these research avenues will require significant investment over time, but if successful, unlock vastly more efficient possibilities. 

 

Related news & editorials

  1. 15.02.2018
    15.02.2018
    by      In
    Australia's deserts will soon hold hundreds of radio dishes, forming part of a global radio telescope designed to listen for signals from the start of the universe: The Square Kilometre Array (SKA). 
    When completed, the ambitious project will be the world's single largest piece of astronomical... Read More
  2. Newcastle solar farm
    15.02.2018
    15.02.2018
    by      In
    Newcastle City Council has signed a contract for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of a 5MW solar photovoltaic project as part of its plan to cut its emissions by 30% by 2020.
    The contract has been awarded to a joint venture between Carnegie Clean Energy subsidiary Energy Made... Read More
  3. 15.02.2018
    15.02.2018
    by      In
    Tomcar Australia, subject of a round of 2017 articles that labeled it as "Australia's last automotive manufacturer", has gone into voluntary administration. 
    Citing hostile investors and increasing costs of business, admistrators confirmed the turnover for Tomcar in the 2016-17 financial year was $... Read More
  4. 15.02.2018
    15.02.2018
    by      In
    An innovation hub to help Australian companies make the shift from traditional manufacturing to more advanced, value-added products has opened in Adelaide.
    The concept was first floated in 2016, and since then development has been ongoing, transforming a former car manufacturing plant into a hub... Read More