NASA has selected GE Healthcare’s Vivid q Cardiovascular Ultrasound to use on board the International Space Station.
The laptop-sized diagnostic system is hitching a ride on the Atlantis during the final space shuttle flight, which should be launching tomorrow.
The Vivid q is designed for cardiovascular imaging and assessing cardiac performance. And for NASA, not only will the customized Vivid q be used for general crew health assessment, it will also be used specifically to help assess the impact of long spaceflight on astronauts and their hearts. These research investigations include:
- Integrated Cardiovascular, which looks at the weakening of heart muscles associated with long-duration spaceflight.
- Integrated Resistance and Aerobic Training Study (Sprint), which evaluates the use of high intensity, low volume exercise training to minimize the loss of muscle, bone, and cardiovascular function in astronauts.
NASA plans to replace and upgrade a decade-old ultrasound unit that stopped operating earlier this year in the Human Research Facility. And the panoramic scan feature offered by the Vivid q is a capability NASA has never had before… in space.
Back on earth, the Vivid q is helping researchers around the world to better understand space travel:
- A European Space Agency experiment called Vascular Echography will use the device to evaluate changes in blood vessel wall properties, such as thickness and compliance, of astronauts during and after long-term exposure to microgravity.
- The device may also be used in NASA’s New Millennium Observatory Network (NeMO Net) extreme mission operation for underwater space simulation. NeMO Net’s instruments are located in a submarine volcano, one mile underwater and 300 miles offshore of Oregon.
“We are excited that the Vivid q’s exceptional imaging capabilities will also now support NASA’s important research in space flight and the impact of space travel on the human physiology,” says GE Healthcare’s Al Lojewski.
Via GE press.
Image: GE Healthcare