FLUMIAS: 'live' examination of cells under microgravity

FLUMIAS is a high-resolution fluorescence microscope for live-cell imaging. It provides a view inside cells of the human body and other living things with high temporal and spatial resolution. For example, changes in metabolic processes, membrane dynamics and ion flows can be viewed in real time – changes, which are caused by the effect of changing gravitational conditions and microgravity.

Numerous cell functions are impaired under changed gravitational conditions. This is, amongst other things, due to structural changes in the internal supporting and organisational structures of the cells, the cytoskeletal elements. In order to better understand the dynamic sequences of these modification processes as well as their causes and consequences for cell functions, these protein structures in human immune cells are labelled with fluorescing markers and made visible in living cells using the FLUMIAS microscope. The innovative technology of structured illumination allows for fast scanning of image planes at very high resolution. Three-dimensional models and video sequences can be created by processing several image planes.

The FLUMIAS technology demonstrator is a simplified variant of the planned microscope. This model will initially be used to test the space suitability of the new high-resolution microscope technology and to identify critical components. Another model is prepared for use on the International Space Station ISS. Mounted on a centrifuge rotor, this version will allow for the examination of numerous biomedical samples under various gravitational conditions.


Elke Heinemann

Digital Communications
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Corporate Communications
Linder Höhe, 51147 Cologne
Tel: +49 2203 601-1852

Volker Schmid

ISS Specialist Group Leader, Head of the Cosmic Kiss Mission
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
German Space Agency at DLR
Science and Exploration
Königswinterer Straße 522-524, 53227 Bonn

Martin Fleischmann

German Aerospace Center (DLR)
German Space Agency at DLR
Communications & Media Relations
Königswinterer Straße 522-524, 53227 Bonn
Tel: +49 228 447-120