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How a space co-op is making asthmatics breathe easier

International Space Station

ISS has led the development of monitoring devices that assists with accurate measurement of nitric oxide, which is released in inflamed tissue of asthmatics.

This November, the International Space Station will celebrate 17 years of continuous human occupation, a world – and we suppose, galactic – record.

Launched into orbit in 1998, the International Space Station is a joint venture between the American, Japanese, Canadian, Russian and European space agencies and plays a vital role in pushing the boundaries of health, food, technology and education research.

ISS has led the development of monitoring devices that assists with accurate measurement of nitric oxide, which is released in inflamed tissue of humans. In people with asthma, inflammation in the lung adds nitric oxide to exhaled air. Measuring the gas can help to diagnose the disease and may prevent attacks if the levels of nitric oxide indicate that medication should be adjusted.

This research is just one example of many research projects that ISS is integral to. We may not know yet what will be the most important discovery gained from this multi-national space co-op, but we already have some amazing breakthroughs. In the areas of human health, innovative technology, education and observations of Earth from space, there are already demonstrated benefits to people back on Earth. Lives have been saved, station-generated images assist with disaster relief, new materials improve products, and education programs inspire future scientists, engineers and space explorers. So many projects have had notable successes that NASA has recently released a “Benefits for humanity” publication outlining exactly how the project is relevant to mere earthlings. You can find it here… Benefits for humanity

Other than helping mankind make deeper strides into outer space, the International Space Station has also allowed a handful of lucky travellers to tick “go to space” off their bucket list. On the occasions that a spare seat was available during supply missions, the space was offered to members of the public for a cool (reported) $20 million. For their investment, these honorary astronauts were able to experience life aboard the station till the next shuttle flight.

While these tours are currently suspended, there are whispers that they’re being re-launched later this year so you’ve still got time to raise your buy-in together plus master Michael Jackson’s moonwalk.


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