Space Station Microscopy: Beyond the Box 932143

Microscopy aboard Space Station Freedom poses many unique challenges for in-flight investigations. Disciplines such as materials processing, plant and animal research, human research, environmental monitoring, health care, and biological processing have diverse microscope requirements. The typical microscope not only does not meet the comprehensive needs of these varied users, but also tends to require excessive crew time. To assess user requirements, a comprehensive survey was conducted among investigators with experiments requiring microscopy. The survey examined requirements such as light sources, objectives, stages, focusing systems, eye pieces, video accessories, etc. The results of this survey and the application of an Intelligent Microscope Imaging System (IMIS) may address these demands for efficient microscopy service in space. The proposed IMIS can accommodate multiple users with varied requirements, operate in several modes, reduce crew time needed for experiments, and take maximum advantage of the restrictive data/instruction transmission environment on Freedom.


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