DNA/RNA Shield Launches Into Space for the 8th Time On SpaceX’s Crew-3 Mission

SpaceX's Successful CREW-3 Launch Carried Devices To Help NASA Researchers Sample Astronauts Aboard The ISS To Better Understand Human Health In Space

A photo of the Earth taken from orbit.

IRVINE, Calif., November 11, 2021 — Yesterday, SpaceX astronauts journeyed to space with small but significant passengers: specially engineered sample collection tubes from Zymo Research and Charm Sciences. These small devices are intended to help answer a big question: how do the dietary and environmental changes associated with space travel affect the human microbiome?

In 2019, NASA asked Zymo Research and Charm Sciences to engineer a sample collection device to meet the rigorous usage conditions of space while maximizing sample integrity to facilitate health knowledge for astronauts and humankind. The devices were developed to withstand g-forces of liftoff and re-entry and to allow astronauts to safely self-collect biospecimens. To date, the technology has launched on four SpaceX vehicles (SpaceX Crew-1, SpaceX CRS-18, SpaceX CRS-22, SpaceX CRS-23) and three Russian Soyuz vehicles (61S, 62S, and 64S).

NASA uses the devices to understand how the astronaut's diet and space environment affects intestinal health, immune functions, and the intestinal microbiome over prolonged periods – vital for developing a nutritional program for manned spaceflight to Mars.

Additionally, DNA/RNA Shield has gone to the International Space Station to support research on drug resistance in space through the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program in May of 2019. 

Learn more about other robust sample collection applications by Zymo Research. 

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