Canada Invests in Health Technologies for Astronauts
New studies aim to assess the health of astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS)
March 27, 2014 - Longueuil, Quebec - Canadian Space Agency
Today, the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), announced five new studies that will help assess innovative Canadian health technologies that could one day be launched to the ISS. This investment reflects the goals of Canada's Space Policy Framework: to ensure a strong and commercially competitive space industry that will continue to inspire Canadians.
The five technologies all aim to make space flight safer for astronauts by identifying, monitoring or diagnosing the health risks associated with space travel. Since many of the effects of microgravity on the human body are similar to the ageing process on Earth, these technologies are also expected to have applications in medical and life science research.
Due to the effects of zero gravity, astronauts in space experience a variety of medical issues, including bone loss; muscle atrophy and reduced strength; cardiovascular deconditioning and problems resulting from increased exposure to radiation.
Astroskin is a bio-monitoring "smart shirt" to continuously record, manage and analyze ISS crewmembers' physiological data (general health, vital signs, sleep quality and activity levels) without interfering with their daily activities.
The Canadian High-Energy Neutron Spectrometry System II would take a more accurate inventory of the energy distribution of neutrons on board the ISS.
MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) of Brampton, Ontario, is partnering with the National Optics Institute in Quebec City, and Dr. Richard Hughson of the University of Waterloo, on a concept design for ISS Microflow Lab, a new version of a miniaturized flow cytometer.
COM DEV Ltd. and Dr. Gordon E. Sarty of the University of Saskatchewan, along with scientists from MRI-TECH Canada, will lay out the requirements for a wrist Magnetic Resonance Imager (MRI) for non-invasive measurements aboard the ISS.
CALM Technologies, the developer of the Osteo series of space bone-cell culture systems, will define the required resources and costs to operate a cell culture system on the ISS to help measure bone loss in astronauts.
The CSA will invest $1.12 million in the five studies, expected to be completed in 2014.
"Canadian technologies developed for space foster innovation and support our economy through high skilled job creation. Our Government understands that investments like these mean that Canada will ensure its world renowned reputation as a valued partner in space exploration and at the same time advance medical research to better the lives of Canadians."
- James Moore, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the CSA