NASA and other space agencies will send astronauts for the first time in over 50 years in the near future.
Unlike the Apollo Era, these missions will involve astronauts spending extended periods on the Moon and traveling to and from Mars.
Millions of people could live aboard space habitats and surface settlements well beyond Earth as a result of the planned commercialization of LEO and cis- Lunar space.
It is possible that the sick and injured will not have licensed medical practitioners to perform potentially life-saving surgery.
The Miniaturized In-vivo Robotic Assistant (MIRA) was developed by Professor Farritor and his colleagues at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
The portable robotic-assisted surgery platform will be flown to the International Space Station in order to evaluate its ability to perform medical procedures in space.
At the University of Nebraska, Farritor is the David and Nancy Lederer Professor of Engineering. He worked for NASA in support of the Mars Exploration Rover program.
The process where the rover's Sun detectors are used to determine its direction of travel was invented as a result of this work.
Virtual Incision was founded by him and Oleynikov, a professor of surgery at the UNMC.
Farritor was the first winner of the Faculty Intellectual Property Innovation and Commercialization Award.
Over the past two decades, Farritor, Oleynikov, and their colleagues have been working on a robotic surgical suite that has attracted over 100 million dollars in venture capital.
NASA awarded Virtual Incision a $100,000 grant to help prepare it for its test on the International Space Station.
The MIRA has two advantages over conventional robotic surgical suites. Doctors can use its instruments through small incisions to perform minimally-invasive operations.
The technology could be used to allow surgeons to perform operations remotely and provide services to locations far from a hospital. Doctors are able to help people in distant locations where services are not readily available.
The added benefit of performing operations autonomously means that astronauts on the Moon and Mars could receive medical care without needing a human surgeon.
John Murphy is the CEO of Virtual Incision.
The Virtual Incision MIRA platform was designed to deliver the power of a mainframe robotic-assisted surgery device in a smaller size with the goal of making it accessible in any operating room.
MIRA will be tested on the space station to see if it can make surgery accessible in far flung places.
Farritor will work with a graduate student to make sure MIRA is ready for operations on the International Space Station. After finishing her bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, she took a position with Virtual Incision.
Writing software, configuring MIRA to fit inside an experiment locker, and testing the device to ensure it is rugged enough to survive being launched aboard a rocket are some of the things this will include.
MIRA performed its first remote surgery as part of a clinical study under an Investigational Device Exemption from the FDA.
The procedure was performed at the Bryan Medical Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.
It is gratifying to be the first surgeon in the world to use the MIRA platform.
The patient is doing well after the procedure. I'm excited to help increase access to robotically assisted surgery, which has clear benefits for patients.
The University of Nebraska Medical Center is 1450 kilometers away from the Johnson Space Center where the experiment was conducted.
MIRA will operate on its own during its upcoming test on the International Space Station. The robot will cut tautly stretched rubber bands and push metal rings along a wire in order to perform a test.
The data we collect during the tests is very important and these simulations are very important.
The purpose of this test is to conserve space station communications bandwidth and reduce the time astronauts spend with the experiment.
The goal of this mission is not to demonstrate the robot's capabilities, but to fine- tune the robot's operations in zero gravity. Future long-duration missions will be helped by these experiments.
NASA has ambitious plans for long-duration space travel, and it's important to test the capabilities of technology that may be beneficial during missions.
MIRA continues to push the boundaries of what is possible, and we are pleased with its performance so far during clinical trials. As space travel becomes more of a reality for mankind, we are excited to take it a step further and help identify what could be possible in the future.
Humans will need to be self-sufficient as they travel further and further away. Resupply missions on the Moon, Mars, and other locations in deep space are not feasible.
In addition to growing their own food, using local resources to meet their needs, and relying on bioregenerative life support systems, they will need to provide essential services like medical care and surgery.
This article was published in the past. The original article is worth a read.