Dr Claudia Stern and Scott Ritter on the parabolic flight © DLR: All rights reserved.
29 June 2021
Matthias Maurer will set off on his mission to the ISS in autumn 2021. On board will be the technology transfer project 'Retinal Diagnostics' by Dr Claudia Stern and Scott Ritter from the DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine and Dr Jürgen Drescher from DLR Technology Marketing. In order to test the technology of the experiments of the Cosmic Kiss mission in microgravity in advance, some were carried out for the first time in microgravity during the 36th parabolic flight campaign of the German Space Agency at DLR in June, including the ‘Retinal Diagnostics’ experiment.
‘Retinal Diagnostics’ on eye health is for preventive health care during space missions and aims to enable astronauts to examine themselves using a newly developed device. The research project focuses on the recurring changes in the optic nerves of astronauts. This change in the optic nerve is one of the most serious impairments that people can experience on space flights. In the experiment on the ISS, the optic nerve of an astronaut is measured for preventive and diagnostic purposes by taking pictures with a very small, lightweight camera. In this way, changes can be tracked and the success of countermeasures taken can be determined. During the parabolic flight, the handling of the camera and accessories was tested in weightlessness. In future, with the help of artificial intelligence, the device will be able to automatically determine whether there are any changes in the astronaut's eye. In addition, the mobile AI-supported diagnostics will be used for neurological emergency medicine on Earth and in remote regions.
The team of Dr Claudia Stern and Scott Ritter was now able to demonstrate during the parabolic flight that high-quality images of the optic nerve head can be taken under zero-gravity conditions without touching or endangering the eye. The experience gained in conducting the experiment in microgravity can thus be incorporated into astronaut training.
From parabolic flights to the ISS – technology tests in microgravity for 'Cosmic Kiss' mission