When you are in space, life gets a whole lot more difficult as plenty of preparation needs to be made in advance. For instance, what if an astronaut falls sick while in space, and what bug has he or she caught? The European Space Agency (ESA) is currently working on a prototype device which will eventually be able to screen individual astronauts who are aboard the International Space Station (ISS), where it performs a quick scan for multiple diseases and medical conditions. The “raw material” required? Well, we are looking at just a single drop of blood.
This prototype instrument is currently being developed alongside Radisens Diagnostic from Ireland, with it already produced for use on earth. A tiny sized disc which spins is able to separate both solid and liquid components of blood, where the liquid plasma will be diffused into different testing chambers located on the disc itself. In a nutshell, this is but a small centrifuge, where the diffused liquid plasma will then be used to run tests in order to find out whether there is anything wrong with the blood sample or not.
To date, there is no concrete timeline as to when this particular device will be deployed to the ISS.