MinXray and DUXS program (Diagnostic Ultra-portable X-ray for Space) announced the first-ever successful diagnostic radiographs in zero gravity, a significant milestone in the development of healthcare technology for long-duration space missions. The experiment was conducted in collaboration with NASA and involved the development of a prototype radiography system that could be used in zero gravity.
Radiographs are commonly used in medical diagnosis, but they require gravity to ensure that the X-ray machine and patient remain stable during the procedure. In zero gravity, this stability is not possible, making it challenging to obtain accurate radiographs. The ability to perform diagnostic radiographs in zero gravity could improve the accuracy and speed of medical diagnosis in space and pave the way for more advanced medical procedures in space.
The radiography system was tested on board a NASA parabolic aircraft, which simulates the weightlessness of space. During the test, the system successfully obtained diagnostic radiographs of a human cadaver’s chest, spine, and ankle. The success of the experiment has significant implications for the development of healthcare technology for space missions, where astronauts may experience a variety of medical conditions that require accurate diagnosis and treatment.
About MinXray and DUXS Program Radiography System
The MinXray and DUXS program radiography system is designed to be lightweight and portable, making it ideal for use in space missions. The system is powered by a lithium-ion battery and is designed to be able to operate in extreme temperatures and in the absence of gravity. It is also designed to be easy to use, with minimal training required, and to be capable of providing high-quality images in seconds.
The experiment’s success opens up new possibilities for the development of medical technology for space missions. The use of compact radiography systems could lead to more advanced medical procedures, such as surgeries, being performed in space. This, in turn, could enable longer and more complex space missions.
The hardware and software system is the result of a collaboration between MinXray, the DUXS program, and NASA. System development was funded by NASA’s Flight Opportunities program, which supports the development of new technologies for space missions.
The lightweight portable design makes it ideal for use in space, where weight and space are at a premium. The system is capable of producing high-quality images within seconds, which could improve the accuracy and speed of medical diagnosis in space. This would be particularly important for long-duration space missions, where astronauts may experience medical conditions that require accurate diagnosis and treatment.
A specially modified Boeing 727 undertook the multi-parabolic flight provided by Zero Gravity Corporation (Zero-G®) in G-FORCE ONE®. During the flight, highly trained pilots perform a series of parabolas, between 24,000 and 32,000 feet which provides 20 to 30 seconds of Zero-G per parabola.
This flight imaging team consisted of four members. Sheyna Gifford, MD, MPH, MBA, MS, David Lerner, MD, Jeanne Walter – MinXray VP Marketing and Sales, Mike Cairnie – Director of Global Sales.
The radiographic images included one of Dr. Gifford’s hand, which mirrored the first X-ray ever taken of Röntgen’s wife’s hand back in 1895 that provided the first conclusive evidence that medical-quality diagnostic X-rays can be quickly and simply obtained in microgravity.
The collaboration between MinXray, DUXS program, and NASA has resulted in a significant breakthrough in medical technology for space missions. The ability to obtain accurate diagnostic radiographs in zero gravity could improve healthcare for astronauts and pave the way for more advanced medical procedures in space.
The successful experiment also demonstrates the power of collaboration in driving scientific advancement. The development of the radiography system was made possible by the collaboration between MinXray, DUXS program, and NASA, which brought together expertise in medical technology, engineering, and space exploration.
The experiment has implications beyond the field of space medicine, demonstrating the potential for medical technology to be adapted to meet the unique challenges of different environments. The lightweight and portable design of the system could have applications in remote or under-resourced areas on Earth, where traditional radiography systems may be impractical or unavailable.