In an article for Astrobiology magazine, Prachi Patel writes that the CubeSat is changing how science gets done, offering an overview of the diminutive craft from its creation by Bob Twiggs, currently a professor in the space sciences program at Morehead State University in Kentucky, to its re-purposing by NanoRacks LLC and Kentucky Space as plug-and-play "CubeLabs" on the International Space Station.
But it's answering the "big questions" in the life sciences where cubes may find their greatest utility. And according to Orlando Santos, an astrobiologist at NASA Ames Research Center, the scientific community now grasps the importance of space as a laboratory in which some answers might be found.
Santos says that there is an intense interest in astrobiology and life sciences to gain access to interplanetary conditions above low-Earth orbit. That’s where you can study how living organisms and life-related compounds are affected by the cosmic radiation above the Earth’s protective atmosphere and by reduced gravity. 'That’s how we can study the big questions in astrobiology,' he says. 'What happens when we go to space?
Having launched a broad exomedicine initiative and powered up, just yesterday, the first platform hosting CubeLab experiments on the ISS, Kentucky Space has some thoughts on astrobiology. Inquiries are welcome.
Pictured here is the label on the first special delivery to Kentucky Space, the return of CubeLab-2.
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