Cellular and Molecular Biology During Spaceflight
While the International Space Station (ISS) offers the possibility of maintaining microorganisms, cells, and tissues, it does not possess the instrumentation and facilities required to perform modern (analytical) molecular biology techniques. In the near future and due to the lack of sample return capacity following shuttle retirement, state-of-the-art instrumentation enabling onsite acquisition of molecular data will be critically needed. Space-adapted technologies will also serve to develop in situ medical diagnostic tools for future manned spaceflights. The Canadian Space Agency has selected a few innovative technology platforms intrinsically endowed with a very high potential for supporting in situ biomolecular analysis and biodiagnostics. These systems were selected for their versatility, their potential as robust, portable and compact instruments, and their capacity to detect and quantify a large spectrum of macromolecules and biomarkers. This paper will focus on the development of a miniaturized fiber optic flow cytometer for space life science research and on-board medical diagnostic.