A Mission Possible: Hadfield on how ISS bio-samples can help in the battle against osteoporosis

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Uploaded on January 30, 2013

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A Mission Possible: Hadfield on how ISS bio-samples can help in the battle against osteoporosis

2013-01-30 - CSA Astronaut Chris Hadfield stores biological samples in the MELFI freezer of the International Space Station (ISS). The samples drawn from the crew of the ISS will be analyzed on the ground to better understand how living in space affects the human body. These samples will give researchers insight into bone loss in space, which in turn can be applied to finding solutions for battling osteoporosis on Earth.

(Credits: Canadian Space Agency, NASA)

Transcript

Chris Hadfield: Ok, our job here is to take some medical samples and put them into this freezer. Here are my medical samples, the freezer is at minus 80 degrees, it’s actually a little colder about minus 90 degrees "C"- really cold - these medical samples are going to go in there – they’ll be flash frozen, and then they’ll be taken to the ground, frozen, so that then they can be analyzed on the ground and (we can) see how spaceflight changes your health. One of the things we’re learning from this is about osteoporosis. If you analyze what’s inside your medical samples then you can find out how your body is retaining or losing its skeleton and that of course is important for long-duration spaceflight on the way to Mars or somewhere where you’ve got to be able to keep a strong skeleton to be able to get out to work on Mars but also it applies to people on Earth. A lot of older folks get osteoporosis and we don’t really understand the mechanisms why in the body and here regular people instantly start getting osteoporosis at an accelerated rate because of change in one variable: gravity. So by studying our medical samples, we can try to help solve the problem of osteoporosis, but these have to go in the freezer. (It’s) Extremely cold in the freezer, so I want to protect my hands, I don’t want them to stick to the freezer like your tongue to a flag pole in the wintertime so I’m going to wear gloves, not only gloves but white gloves. One thing I forgot to mention, you’ve got to do this within 60 seconds. We don’t want all the cold to get out of the freezer, so we’ve got to do this quickly. I’ve got to be ready, got to be careful, got to be fast and efficient to make this work. Ok, we ready? You can time me. Open the door, pull it out, hunt in the back one, find the one with three in it, slide these three into that one, put it back in, close it up really carefully slide it back in get the door closed—I’ve got one minute, ready? The timer counts when I get this door open. Here we go. Watch this. Yes! How’d I do? Did I make it in time? I hope so. Didn’t freeze my arm, didn’t freeze my hands, urine samples are safe for science return-to-Earth. One more task accomplished in a day on Space Station.

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