UAE News Today : Politics

From printing human tissue to drinking water for all: how space exploration helps the future


Dubai: Why is space exploration important for humanity and the future? During the ongoing Dubai Future Forum, members of the International Space Station’s Expedition 69 crew spoke about how scientific and technological experiments conducted aboard the ISS impact human life on Earth.

UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, along with the rest of the crew, including Commander Sergey Prokopyev, flight engineers Frank Rubio, Dmitri Petelin, Stephen Bowen, Woody Hoburg and Andrey Fedyaev, and UAE astronaut United Arab Emirates Hazza Al Mansouri, who was part of the ground team. , addressed a large audience during a panel discussion titled “Space Learners for Humanity.”

Hazza Al Mansouri, the first UAE astronaut to travel to space, explained: “The crew of 69 conducted more than 200 scientific experiments and eight spacewalks. The crew carried out many important missions, including the installation of new lightweight solar panels outside the ISS.”

Hazza Al Mansouri, the first UAE astronaut to travel to space.
Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Advances in biotechnology

Flight engineer Woody Hoburg explained one of the key experiments conducted by Expedition 69.

“We printed the first section of the human meniscus (a C-shaped piece of cartilage that acts as a cushion between the tibia and the femur), using a type of biological 3D printer. What would normally become a puddle in gravity, in weightlessness we were able to print.”

This means that in the future it might be possible to print heart tissues, the astronaut explained.

“Many of us worked on that experiment, all hands were in the glove box (an area on the space station that allows the crew to safely conduct research in microgravity) and the team on the ground solved a lot of problems. “They helped us find some solutions that ultimately allowed us to be successful.”

Bioengineering experiment in space

The experiment titled Human iPSC-Based 3D Microphysiological System for Modeling Cardiac Dysfunction in Microgravity-2 (Engineered Heart Tissues-2) continues working with 3D cultured cardiac muscle tissue to evaluate human cardiac function in microgravity. Previous work with 3D cultures in space detected changes at the cellular and tissue level that could provide an early indication of the development of heart disease. This research tests whether new therapies prevent these negative effects from occurring.
Source: NASA official website.

“Other experiments included drawing our own blood samples for biological experiments, we received generic training for those skills. We are very committed to obtaining results for the researchers who have worked for many years on these studies. As subjects, we can get tired of taking our own blood samples multiple times, but we focus on doing it correctly,” added flight engineer Stephen Bowen.

Astronaut Stephen Bowen at the Dubai Future Forum on November 27.

Astronaut Stephen Bowen speaks at a panel discussion at the Dubai Future Forum on November 27.
Image credit: Ahmed Ramzan, Gulf News

He went on to explain that scientific research conducted on space missions has served humanity in many ways, including the field of health and medicine.

It was during these missions, for example, that astronauts understood that there is no magic pill for osteoporosis.

Astronaut Francisco (Frank) Rubio said: “In space, astronauts face a loss of bone density because there is no pressure from constantly standing. During the early years of space exploration, astronauts lost up to 20 percent of bone density. “Now it’s down to five percent.”

Bowen added that these observations about bone density and muscle mass helped researchers understand that “weight-bearing exercises” (for strength training) were the only solution for diseases such as osteoporosis.

Clean water

Space missions have also managed to achieve a 90 percent water recycling rate, Bowen added.

“It is this technology that provides clean water in countries where there was never clean water,” he said.

For his part, Frank Rubio also stated that although space exploration uses many resources, astronauts understand this and make sure that every minute they spend in space is well spent.

“Everything we do, all the innovation, is for the benefit of humanity. We don’t just represent our respective agencies; we represent the entire world… We take the opportunity to improve the [global] community,” Rubio said.

Inspiring the younger generation

Speaking about his first mission to space, Emirati astronaut Al Neyadi said: “I am grateful to have been able to represent the UAE and the region in this space mission.

“My mission was the second from the United Arab Emirates (after the Hazza Al Mansouri space flight in 2019). It was the longest Arab mission. “We had teams working tirelessly preparing before the space launch.”

Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi speaks at a panel discussion at the Dubai Future Forum on November 27.

Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi speaks at a panel discussion at the Dubai Future Forum on November 27.
Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

The United Arab Emirates and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center had detailed plans to reach the students, Al Neyadi explained.

“We run many sessions for the public and schools from the ISS. One day Stephen asked me: ‘Do you ever sleep?’

“The main goal was to reach every student in the country,” he added, explaining that he wanted younger generations to understand that space exploration might have been a difficult concept in the ’80s, but that it is possible now.

He also explained how the UAE had invited school students to submit questions for the crew and had organized competitions with university students, challenging five universities to program a robot for the space station.


UAE News Today :

UAE News Today : Latest UAE News, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah & Middle East News : Get the latest updates & breaking headlines news from across the UAE including Dubai and Abu Dhabi UAE. Get the latest update on UAE, business, life style, UAE jobs, gold rate, Exchange rate, UAE holidays, Dubai police, RTA and prayer times from UAE's largest news.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button