Dynamic Microscopy System

PI: M. Andy Kurk, Techshot Inc.

The key objectives of this project are to provide a microscope and a microscope stage that functions as an automated miniature laboratory and to meet experimenters’ requirements on the forthcoming generation of suborbital spacecraft being developed by the private sector. Techshot, Inc. will use its corporate history of development of similar hardware for the International Space Station and will incorporate a robust digital microscope to produce a versatile mini-microscopy laboratory for the study of fluid phenomena, colloid science, motile cells such as algae and protozoa, model organisms such as nematodes, and plant science.

Technology Areas (?)
  • TA08 Science Instruments, Observations and Sensor Systems
Problem Statement

The spacecraft currently being built accommodate a very small number of passengers, provide limited space for safety-qualified research equipment, and they offer three to seven minutes of low-gravity exposure during which changes occur at the microscopic level. At the core of the system is a hollow slide whose dimensions can be tailored to each experiment and within which fluids can be exchanged at any time before, during and after flight. The convenient dimensions of the package will facilitate late loading onto the spacecraft just before flight and early recovery after flight.

Technology Maturation

The perceived significance of this proposed instrumentation will be its ready availability for science projects such as these and, for the first time ever, the possibility of multiple repetitions of microscope observations in low gravity – a long-standing wish of NASA scientists and the research community at large.

Technology Details

  • Selection Date
    NRA-1-APP-A (Jul 2012)
  • Program Status
  • Current TRL (?)
    TRL 3
    Successful FOP Flights
  • 0 sRLV

Development Team

  • PI
    M. Andy Kurk
  • Organization
  • Sponsor
    Techshot Inc.

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