Among the cargo delivered to the ISS by the next transport flight, there will be a special batch of tablets from the University of Adelaide (UA), manufactured as part of a project to create a technology for the production of medicines during long space missions.
Until now, the crews took all the necessary medications (mainly antibiotics and painkillers) with them. As for the ISS, its on-board first-aid kit is periodically updated and replenished. However, for long-term space missions, where you have to rely solely on yourself, this practice is not suitable.
To test the crew’s capabilities to produce medicines directly on board the ISS, a team of researchers at the University of Adelaide, led by Professor Volker Hessel, prepared blister packs with 60 tablets for sending to the space station.
At first glance, these are ordinary medicines, but in fact they are made with the addition of “space” ingredients – silica, magnesium silicate (talc) and calcium phosphate found on the moon. On the ISS, they will be placed on the Alpha Space Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE) platform, located outside the station, where they will be exposed to all the factors of outer space – vacuum, extreme temperatures, weightlessness and hard radiation.
It is assumed that in six months, the medicines will return to Earth, where the UA team will carefully study the changes that have occurred to them. The information obtained will be used to create technologies for the production of medicines in outer space.