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3D Printed Hearts in Space

Scientists are now developing 3D-printed hearts to be sent to the International Space Station. This paves the way for astronauts to travel deeper into space than ever before.

These 3D-printed hearts are scheduled to launch to the ISS in 2027, paving the way for space travel. Scientists are carrying out this task to learn whether or not our hearts can survive in the depths of space. This project will determine how artificial hearts react when exposed to harsh radiation that can be found in space.

The following is an excerpt from an article describing these hearts:

Behind the exciting plan are researchers with a program called Pulse. Funded by the European Innovation Council, Pulse’s website emphasizes the importance of generating complex, precise and easily manipulable bioprinted materials to “make long-term space exploration a safer and more viable option.” However, the team also explains that this endeavor can help with Earth-based medicine breakthroughs as well, most notably with regard to cancer therapies that also expose the human body to intense radiation. “The ambitious goals of the PULSE project are as much related to space research as they are to healthcare on Earth,” Lorenzo Moroni, project coordinator and professor of biofabrication for regenerative medicine at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, said in a statement. “Bioprinted organoids that closely replicate the complexity of human organs have the potential to reduce the reliance on animal experimentation and provide a more accurate and efficient platform to study disease mechanisms and evaluate drug responses.” article

Interestingly enough, this is not the first instance of scientists attempting to expose heart cells to spaceborne conditions. Brown and JHU have both worked with NASA to send cardiac tissue to the ISS over the past few years. This mission served to see how heart tissue contracts in microgravity conditions and whether or not muscle damage could be reversed. Furthermore, astronauts stationed on the ISS maintain their heart health in active studies that are already in place. One of these studies is the Canadian Space Agency’s Vascular Echo, which tests the heart’s reaction to blood pressure changes in space.

However, Pulse is unique because it better replicates a real heart and is an easily testable and controllable project which can adapt to research experiments.

The results of this space study could be crucial to deep space exploration in the future.


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