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11 medical advances initially created for use in outer space

09 Oct 2015  | Steve Taranovich

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Some of the world's best engineers and scientists work in NASA. They design and develop manned and unmanned exploration systems that can travel in deep space to search for anything that is out there. Their work also stretches our capabilities to beyond the limits of our imagination.

There are numerous by-products from that research and development that benefits us here on Earth and medicine/healthcare is one of the most important areas served. Let's take a look at some of the amazing discoveries that have improved our lives with regard to health.

See the image below and click on the following pages to know the developments of which you were probably never aware came from NASA. (All images are courtesy of NASA except for the InnerVue Diagnostic Scope on the next page.)

Metabolic analysis

Shown here is the Portable Unit for Metabolic Analysis that was designed to measure the health and fitness of astronauts in space by monitoring their metabolism. This device takes multiple measurements per breath while allowing astronauts to roam about a spacecraft. It weighs less than two pounds and transmits wireless data in real time.

NASA Glenn facility in California was the developer of this device which ensures the health and safety of astronauts as well as their performance in space. Radiation and weightlessness can affect the body in so many ways such as loss of bone and muscle, getting cataracts, renal stones, cancer and experiencing vertigo and more. Muscles and heart can weaken. NASA has developed routines of exercise, protective gear and tries to limit the duration of missions where possible.

This device, which monitors flow rate, oxygen and carbon dioxide during respiration, can benefit elite athletes and improve rehab techniques for heart attack patients on Earth by improving endurance testing.


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