With a plan for the future: NASA sends skin into space

An unusual load is being carried to the International Space Station this month – sewn pieces of human skin.

Sending it is a step in preparation for the time when people will try to achieve an almost permanent presence on the moon and create a city on Mars – and even if this goal remains far away, on the way to its realization will have to spend a lot of time in space.

Monica Monici of the University of Florence and her team are preparing a shipment of the next Falcon 9 rocket and the Space X Dragon capsule (perhaps Friday, June 10) to find out how wounds heal under other gravitational conditions – the answer right now according to it is “completely unknown.”

On Earth, gravity helps wounds heal through processes at the cellular level and in tissues. In microgravity (very close to zero gravity, known to man as weightlessness), on the contrary, it is slower, but details are not known – no research has been done outside the planet.

The risk of chronic, non-healing wounds or scars that cause pain remains to be clarified because there is one if “mistakes” are made in the healing process.

“Future space exploration missions may increase the risk of injury, trauma, and emergency operations,” Monici said. “As the time to evacuate from space to Earth can be very long, the need for trauma care or space operations is increasing, and wound healing should be seen as a major problem to be explored. as it is vital for the survival of the crew. ”

Monici also explains that the purpose of the study is to observe models of sutured wounds aboard the International Space Station. The models were prepared from a biopsy of human skin and blood vessels taken in the course of operations on healthy patients and collected with informed consent at the Hospital of the University of Caravaggio in Florence.

When they arrive at the International Space Station (along with materials for other scientific experiments collected by the US space agency NASA), the eight samples will be separated and will be observed to heal in different conditions. A month later, they will be returned to Earth so that Monici’s team can investigate the results.

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