PharmaSat Nano-Satellite Orbiting 'Lab'

PharmaSat and its flight system is an experiment designed to measure the influence of microgravity upon yeast resistance to an antifungal agent. The device is about the size of a loaf of bread; it is a secondary payload on a USAF Minotaur 1 rocket. PharmaSat is completely autonomous, despite its small size - a self-contained orbiting 'lab'.

PharmaSat is intended to accomplish five critical functions in its autonomous free-flyer platform:

  1. Provide life support and environmental control for growth of the yeast strain in 48 independent microwells
  2. Dose the growing yeast with antifungal agent at the appropriate point on the growth curve with three distinct, well-defined dosage levels, plus a zero-dose control
  3. Track the population of the yeast via optical density of each microwell before, during and after antifungal administration
  4. Determine well-by-well yeast viability at multiple, well-defined times after antifungal administration using a colorimetric reagent, Alamar Blue
  5. Telemeter the resulting population and viability data to Earth, along with system status data.


(PharmaSat nano-satellite)

The main technology subsystems include a 3-color optical absorbance system, microfluidic networks, multiple reagent delivery system, and miniature environmental control and power management systems.

"PharmaSat is an important experiment that will yield new information about the susceptibility of microbes to antibiotics in the space environment," said David Niesel, PharmaSat's co-investigator at the University of Texas in Galveston.

"Secondary payload nanosatellites expand the number of opportunities available to conduct research in microgravity by providing an alternative to the International Space Station or space shuttle conducted investigations," said Elwood Agasid, PharmaSat project manager at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.

The PharmaSat project may remind sf readers of Project Scoop, from Michael Crichton's 1969 novel The Andromeda Strain.

In theory, JPL was designing a satellite to enter the fringes of space and collect organisms and dust for study. This was considered a project of pure science...

In fact, the true aims were quite different. The true aims of Scoop were to find new life forms that might benefit the Fort Detrick program. In essence, it was a study to discover new biological weapons of war.

From Space.com and PharmaSat at NASA. Thanks to Winchell Chung

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/9/2009)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

Unrolling The Filmy Materials Of Space Tech
'When unfolded and unrolled... it became a tough, gleaming film.' - Jack Vance, 1962.

Bake in Space Bake-Off... In Space!
'A joyous condition commenced for the cook in the electric kitchen...' - Otto Willi Gail, 1929.

Free-Floating Planet Capture Not Rare, Says Paper
'planets which had been pulled from their pathways ages ago by a passing star...' - Balmer and Wylie, 1932.

Spider Flyer Walker Space Suit For Mars Astronauts
'The eight thin metallic legs were pointed downwards...' - Charles Sheffield, 1979.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

TALOS Exoskeleton Development Proceeding
'Suited up, you look like a big steel gorilla...'

Autonomous Robots Navigate Like Rats
'Out of warrens in the wall, tiny robot mice darted.'

SINTEF Robot Cleans Solar Panels
'The window cleaners, with large padded feet...'

Pangorin Restaurant Service Robots
What'll you have? Jawa juice?

Drug Creates Real Melanin Tan
I've used them all my life...

Medical Drones Hover Like Angels Near You
'The death-reversal equipment is on its way...'

SkEye Amazing Israeli Gigapixel Drone
'An eye that could not only see, but fly...'

How Rude! DARPA Wants Robots To Behave More Like Threepio
'Do I know protocol? Why, it's my primary function.'

'Liquid Light' Flows Around Corners
Light as a superfluid.

Unrolling The Filmy Materials Of Space Tech
'When unfolded and unrolled... it became a tough, gleaming film.'

Buddy Companion Robot Your Bulbous Friend
'Nanny was built in the shape of a sphere, a large metal sphere, flattened on the bottom...'

Poli-X1 Prototype Bee Pollinator
Is there anything drones can't do?

Bake in Space Bake-Off... In Space!
'A joyous condition commenced for the cook in the electric kitchen...'

DeepMind AI Baffled By Homer Simpson, Needs Human Help
'Whenever a robot finds something it can't identify straight off...'

Does Earth's Middle Mantle Hold Oceans Of Water?
Al Gore, you have no idea.

Vaccine Blocks Heroin High
'You're biochemically incapable of getting off...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.