A device created by Greenville-based Techshot Inc. is expected to launch next week to the International Space Station as part of the next SpaceX cargo resupply mission. The company says the device can conduct research in space at varying gravity levels by producing artificial gravity.
The Techshot Multi-use Variable-gravity Platform, or MVP, can produce artificial gravity in 0.1 g increments, up to a maximum of 2.0 g. By comparison, Earth’s gravity is 1.0g. The device is roughly the size of a microwave oven and can hold multiple experiment modules for research on various sample types, such as tissue chips, plants, fish, cells, protein crystals, worms and flies.
Techshot says the MVP will be used to better understand how much gravity is enough for human crews to remain healthy while living on the surface of the moon or Mars, where gravity is lower than Earth. Previous research conducted on the ISS, using Techshot’s Bone Densitometer X-Ray machine, has confirmed the detrimental effects of microgravity exposure on bone loss and muscle wasting, according to the company.
"I believe we’re entering an unprecedented golden age of human spaceflight," said John Vellinger, chief executive officer of Techshot. "Never before have so many options been on the horizon for living and working in low-earth orbit and beyond. Research with MVP can help scientists better prepare us to thrive in our collective spacefaring future."
The first experiment to be conducted with the MVP will focus on fruit flies. The launch of the SpaceX mission is scheduled for April 2.
You can learn more about the mission from NASA by clicking here.