Even as you read these words, there's a world of research going on high over our heads—approximately 200–215 miles up. The International Space Station (ISS), which has been taking shape for much of the past decade, is an orbiting laboratory for many kinds of research. ISS is a perfect place to research all manner of scientific, technical, and medical questions. In fact, some medical research can only be performed in orbit. That means aboard the space station, where there is no gravity. The same weightlessness that lets space-suited astronauts move massive objects easily also offers a unique learning opportunity.
Humanity will be faced with an important number of future challenges, including an expansion of the lifespan, a considerable increase of the population (estimated 9 billion by 2050) and a depletion of resources. These factors could trigger an increase of chronic diseases and various other health concerns that would bear a heavy weight on finances worldwide. Scientific advances can play an important role in solving a number of these problems, space technology; in general, can propose a panoply of possible solutions and applications that can make life on Earth easier and better for everyone. Satellites, Earth Observation, the International Space Station (ISS) , NASA , the European Space Agency (ESA) and other agencies may not be the first tools that come to mind when thinking of improving health, yet there are many ways in which these programmes contribute to the worldwide health care arena.
A sample of some of NASA Spinoffs Milestones in Space Research:-
1. DIGITAL IMAGING BREAST BIOPSY SYSTEM— A non-surgical system developed with Space Telescope Technology that greatly reduces the time, cost, pain, and other effects associated with traditional surgical biopsies.
2. BREAST CANCER DETECTION—A solar cell sensor that determines exactly when x-ray film has been exposed to optimum density; it reduces exposure to radiation and doubles the number of patient exams per machine.
3. LASER ANGIOPLASTY—A "cool" type of laser, called an excimer laser, which offers precise non-surgical cleanings of clogged arteries and fewer complications than in balloon angioplasty.
4. ULTRASOUND SKIN DAMAGE ASESMENT—An advanced ultrasound instrument to immediately assess depth of damage, improving patient treatment and saving lives in serious burn cases.
5. HUMAN TISSUE STIMULATOR—A device employing NASA satellite technology that is implanted in the body to help control chronic pain and involuntary motion disorders through electrical stimulation of targeted nerve centers or particular areas of the brain.
6. COOL SUIT—Custom-made suit that circulates coolant to lower body temperature; it dramatically improves symptoms of multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and other conditions.
7. PROGRAMMABLE PACEMAKER—An implant connected to a physician's computer and used to regulate heart rate, incorporating multiple NASA technologies.
8. OCULAR SCRENING—An image-processing technique developed by NASA and now used to detect eye problems in very young children.
9. VOICE-CONTROLLED WHEELCHAIR—Robotic wheelchair manipulator that responds to 35 one-word voice commands, helping patients to perform daily tasks like picking up packages, opening doors, and turning on appliances.
10. WATER PURIFICATION SYSTEM—A municipal water treatment system for developing nations that uses iodine instead of chlorine to kill harmful bacteria
Examples of ESA space solutions for healthcare, independence and health protection include:
o improving the autonomy of people with assist devices including wheelchairs
o tracking devices for people prone to wandering
o personal navigation for visually impaired people
o air quality forecasts
o smartphone apps to coordinate response to emergencies
o reducing response time to cardiac arrest emergencies
o climate modelling to estimate the likelihood of an epidemic in developing countries
o satellite imagery to support Malaria Control terrain work
There are numerous Technology Transfer Programmes carried out by a network of technology brokers across Europe , Americaand Canada. Their jobis to identify technologies with potential for non-space applications on one side, and on the other side to detect the non-space technology needs. Subsequently, they market the technology and provide assistance in the transfer process