Space technology rocketing upwards, reports IDTechEx

Space. The final frontier, the first step in a journey just beginning, or a horrifying void matched only by your deep fear of the ocean? Whatever your feelings on space, technology has been steadily pushing forwards to take exploration further, faster, and foodier than ever before.

Space for seconds?

Many people are familiar with the concept of freeze-dried food for astronauts, from the exciting freeze-dried ice-cream to the more common freeze-dried fruits that can be seen in cereals such as Special K. Perfect for a novelty treat, or breakfast with a splash of milk, but flawed for long expeditions into the unknown.

It is extremely difficult to provide astronauts with any food that isn’t super sterile, dried, long-life food. As a result, many astronauts experience weight loss on the missions, and in terms of long-term space travel, poor food quality is a major problem in terms of mental and physical health. Any student who has eaten pot noodles 3 meals a day for a month may be familiar with the issue.

Innovations such as little hydroponic systems for growing some green food are therefore extremely interesting developments for the industry. NASA has begun to implement research on using this method to grow crops in space; NASA plant physiologist Ray Wheeler, Ph.D. and colleagues have been studying ways to grow safe, fresh food crops efficiently off the Earth. Most recently, astronauts on the International Space Station harvested and ate a variety of red romaine lettuce that they activated and grew in a plant growth system called Veggie. Other vegetables Wheeler identifies as very promising for space agriculture include sweet potatoes, wheat, and soybeans.

It is not all about the veggies, though. Aleph Farms and Finless Foods recently used 3D printing technology to make cultured meat on the international space station. Whilst not quite Star Trek replicators, the innovation offers at least a little intrigue and ingenuity for astronauts, and a break from freeze dried food can make a huge nutritional difference. The mental health aspect of fresh and varied food is not to be underestimated and could be helped a long way by innovations such as these.

The vacuum of space – keeping space travel sanitary
Yes, astronauts do use a vacuum in the vacuum of space. Unlike on earth, dust and debris won’t settle but may instead accumulate in air vents, so astronauts use vacuums to collect what they can. The issue of cleanliness in space runs far deeper than some dust and some crumbs, though, and this is where antimicrobial technology comes in.

In microgravity, the immune response is weakened, which calls for extra caution with cleanliness. Many infectious bacteria, on the other hand, have no such issues. In fact, some studies have shown that bacteria in space can survive drug concentrations that would prove fatal to them on earth. So, it comes as no surprise to learn that many astronauts have been struck down by infection while on their adventures.

In addition to the health concerns, high touch areas, waste disposal systems, and liquid-handling systems can be affected by biodegradation – the process by which organic substances are decomposed by micro-organisms. Biodegradation of materials on crewed spacecraft can cause disruption, loss of function, and lost crew time.

Biofilms – colonies of bacteria and single-cell organisms adhering to a surface – can occur in almost any environment on earth, and now space. In a small space such as a space shuttle or space station, with limited supplies and potentially years of travel before there is a chance to leave or access additional cleaning materials, this is an issue that must be carefully controlled.

Goldshield have developed coatings, which have been used by NASA and have shown 100% biofilm reduction. Goldshield have developed a water-based organosilane technology, consisting of a silane base and a quaternary ammonium compound. The formulation can be easily applied via a regular spray bottle. It can also be applied via electrostatic spraying, where 1 gallon can cover 5,000 sq ft, but outside of efficiency, electrostatic spraying is not necessary for application.

Goldshield’s antimicrobial technology has been proven in 3 clinical trials that have been published in the American Journal of Infection Control. One of the studies is a 9-month study where Goldshield’s coating was applied to 5 high-touch points in 18 intensive care units.

Through investigating over 60,000 cultures, it was determined that Goldshield could reduce bioburden by 3-4 log. IDTechEx were told that Goldshield has run the only study that shows direct correlation between the use of chemistry on surfaces with reductions in healthcare associated infections.

For more detail on the latest and future developments in antimicrobial technology, see IDTechEx report “Antimicrobial Technology Market 2021-2031”.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Trading space: ESA bolsters European business

ESA’s orbiting laboratory, OPS-SAT, has hosted the first-ever stock trade in space on Sept 30. The successful experiment required developers at Europe’s leading online broker flatexDEGIRO to think far outside ... Read more »

Euclid telescope ready for extreme space environment

ESA’s Euclid mission has reached a new milestone in its development with successful testing of the telescope and instruments showing that it can operate and achieve the required performance in ... Read more »

Scientists recreate cosmic reactions to unlock astronomical mysteries

Experiments will give scientists a closer look at how exploding stars create world’s heaviest elements. How do the chemical elements, the building blocks of our universe, get built? This question ... Read more »

'Planet confusion' could slow Earth-like exoplanet exploration

When it comes to directly imaging Earth-like exoplanets orbiting faraway stars, seeing isn’t always believing. A new Cornell study finds that next-generation telescopes used to see exoplanets could confuse Earth-like ... Read more »

NASA selects partners for Geostationary and Extended Observations Sounder Phase A Studies

NASA has selected Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corporation of Boulder, Colorado and L3Harris Technologies Inc. of Fort Wayne, Indiana, for a Geostationary and Extended Observations (GeoXO) Sounder (GXS) Phase A ... Read more »

NASA's Lucy science mission will fly by eight asteroids

NASA plans to launch its Lucy spacecraft from Florida on Oct. 16 to fly by eight asteroids starting in 2025, marking the first time scientists will gain close-up views of ... Read more »

Earth from Space: Mackenzie River, Canada

The Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission takes us over the Mackenzie River, a major river system in the Canadian boreal forest. Its basin is the largest in Canada and is the second ... Read more »

BepiColombo swings by Mercury ahead of 2025 orbital insertion

The joint European-Japanese BepiColombo mission captured this view of Mercury on 1 October 2021 as the spacecraft flew past the planet for a gravity assist manoeuvre. The image was taken ... Read more »

Lucy mission prepares for launch to Trojan asteroids

NASA has tested the functions of Lucy, the agency’s first spacecraft to study Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids, filled it with fuel, and is preparing to pack it into a capsule for ... Read more »

Investigating the potential for life around the galaxy's smallest stars

When the world’s most powerful telescope launches into space this year, scientists will learn whether Earth-sized planets in our ‘solar neighborhood’ have a key prerequisite for life – an atmosphere. ... Read more »

NASA confirms Roman Mission's flight design in milestone review

NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope has successfully passed its critical design review, signaling that all design and developmental engineering work is now complete. “After seeing our extensive hardware testing ... Read more »

Earth is dimming due to climate change

Warming ocean waters have caused a drop in the brightness of the Earth, according to a new study. Researchers used decades of measurements of earthshine – the light reflected from ... Read more »

NASA awards Sun-Sky Scanning Sun Photometers for the AERONET Project

NASA has awarded a contract for Sun-Sky Scanning Sun Photometers to CIMEL Electronique of Paris, France to support the AErosol RObotic NETwork (AERONET). This is a firm-fixed-price, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity ... Read more »

Extending LIGO's reach into the cosmos

Since LIGO’s groundbreaking detection, in 2015, of gravitational waves produced by a pair of colliding black holes, the observatory, together with its European partner facility Virgo, has detected dozens of ... Read more »

Optically generated quantum fluids of light reveal exotic matter-wave states in condensed matter physics

Researchers from Skoltech and the University of Southampton, U.K., used all-optical methods to create an artificial lattice whose nodes house polaritons – quasiparticles that are half-light and half-matter excitations in ... Read more »

Blue Origin accused of 'toxic' work culture, compromising safety

A group of current and former Blue Origin employees on Thursday accused Jeff Bezos’ space company of having a “toxic” work culture with rampant sexual harassment and a pattern of ... Read more »

China opens Shenzhou-12 return capsule at ceremony

China held a ceremony Monday to open the capsule of the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft which carried three astronauts back to Earth on Sept. 17. Space officials, including Hao Chun, director of ... Read more »

Soyuz docks to new Nauka module port at ISS

The Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft that first launched and arrived to the International Space Station April 9 has now successfully relocated with its crew aboard from the station’s Earth-facing Rassvet module ... Read more »

Quantum photonics based on metasurfaces

In a new publication from Opto-Electronic Advances researchers led by Professor Shuming Wang from Nanjing University, Nanjing, China discuss quantum photonics based on metasurfaces. This paper summarizes recent works on ... Read more »

Planets gone rogue could sustain life

A rogue planet is an interstellar object of planetary mass without a host planetary system. As they freely roam around space, could they be fertile nurseries for life? A Florida ... Read more »

Bare Super-Earths offer clues to evolution of hot atmospheres

A group of astronomers from the Astrobiology Center, the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, the University of Tokyo, and other institutes, discovered two rocky super-Earth exoplanets lacking thick primordial atmospheres ... Read more »

Beam diagnostics for future laser wakefield accelerators

The principle of laser wakefield accelerators: A high-power laser excites a charge wave in a plasma, which propagates at the speed of the laser pulse and pulls electrons behind it ... Read more »

NASA readies for future Artemis Moon Missions with rocket engine test series

NASA marked a significant milestone Sept. 30 in its plans for future missions to the Moon and, eventually, Mars with completion of an RS-25 single-engine Retrofit-2 test series at Stennis ... Read more »

Ariane 6 launch complex inaugurated at Europe's Spaceport

The new launch complex built for Europe’s upcoming Ariane 6 rocket is inaugurated at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. With this, ESA celebrates another important milestone in the Ariane 6 ... Read more »

China launches high-resolution Earth-observation satellite

China launched a Kuaizhou 1A carrier rocket to place a high-resolution Earth-observation satellite in space on Monday afternoon, according to China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation. The State-owned space contractor ... Read more »

Hyperbolic Mirrors for Earth Observation Satellites

Optical Surfaces Ltd is a leading manufacturer of high precision hyperbolic mirrors that are used in satellite-based telescopes to collect and focus light enabling high-resolution remote observation in applications including ... Read more »

Asteroid sample brought back to Earth gets a close-up look at Brown

In December 2020, Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft swung by Earth to drop off a cache of rock samples taken from a near-Earth asteroid called Ryugu. Asteroids like Ryugu are thought to ... Read more »

Space for our Planet: Space Solutions for a Sustainable World

At ESA, we believe that we have a responsibility to use our space technologies, applications and services to benefit planet Earth and humankind. Some examples of how we do this ... Read more »

FAA clears Virgin Galactic to resume flights after investigation

The Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday that Richard Branson’s space tourism company can return to spaceflight after conducting an investigation into issues with the firm’s July 11 launch. A probe ... Read more »

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency funds Phase 4a of MagQuest Challenge

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) just launched the Demonstration Phase (Phase 4a) of its MagQuest Challenge to develop novel data collection approaches for the World Magnetic Model. The WMM ultimately ... Read more »

Did a cosmic impact destroy an ancient city in the Jordan Valley

In the Middle Bronze Age (about 3600 years ago or roughly 1650 BCE), the city of Tall el-Hammam was ascendant. Located on high ground in the southern Jordan Valley, northeast ... Read more »

Starfish Space raises $7M to develop Space Tug

Starfish Space, a satellite servicing company founded by former Blue Origin engineers, has raised a $7M funding round co-led by NFX and MaC Venture Capital, with participation from PSL Ventures, ... Read more »

Microscopic metavehicles powered by nothing but light

Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have succeeded in creating tiny vehicles powered by nothing but light. By layering an optical metasurface onto a microscopic particle, and then using ... Read more »

NASA to launch climate change-tracking Landsat 9 satellite

NASA plans to launch one of its most high-tech Earth observation satellites to date Monday from California to help track climate events that range from California wildfires to deforestation of ... Read more »

Gigantic cavity in space sheds new light on how stars form

Astronomers analyzing 3D maps of the shapes and sizes of nearby molecular clouds have discovered a gigantic cavity in space. The sphere-shaped void, described in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, spans ... Read more »

How to weigh a quasar

Astronomers of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy have, for the first time, successfully tested a new method for determining the masses of extreme black holes in quasars. This method ... Read more »

Satellite maker Terran Orbital plans major plant in Florida

Small-satellite maker Terran Orbital plans to build a large manufacturing plant with more than 2,000 employees near Kennedy Space Center’s former space shuttle landing strip, the company and Florida officials ... Read more »

NASA adviser blasts lack of congressional action on space traffic dangers

The chair of NASA’s independent safety panel blasted Congress on Thursday for not designating a federal agency to spearhead space traffic management. Chairwoman Patricia Sanders, a former Department of Defense ... Read more »

Cloud-spotting on a distant exoplanet

An international team of astronomers has not only detected clouds on the distant exoplanet WASP-127b, but also measured their altitude with unprecedented precision. A presentation by Dr Romain Allart at ... Read more »

Come on in, the water is superionic

The interiors of Uranus and Neptune each contain about 50,000 times the amount of water in Earth’s oceans, and a form of water known as superionic water is believed to ... Read more »