Device will do blood tests in space

Nov. 14, 2011 at 2:57 PM

PARIS, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- The European Space Agency says it has begun developing a new blood-testing device for astronauts on the International Space Station.

Ailments from diabetes to heart disease should be diagnosable in moments from a single drop of astronaut blood, an ESA release said Friday.

The device is a mini-disc embedded with a wide variety of miniaturized test procedures into which a small drop of blood is placed, then the device is inserted into a "point-of-care" device and spun to spread the blood sample across the surface.

The device conducts multiple tests simultaneously with automated results delivered within a matter of minutes, researchers said.

"Biochemical analysis aboard the space station is becoming a high priority for the human physiology experiments carried out there," said Nadine Fritz of ESA's Directorate of Human Spaceflight and Operations.

"The retirement of the Space Shuttle has significantly reduced the amount of cargo we can download from the station, so it makes sense to do what analysis we can do in orbit."

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