Microcirculation in microgravity

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Imedos is currently on another exciting mission: together with scientists from the University of Düsseldorf, we are once again investigating the behavior of the microvessels of the eye in weightlessness.

After the successful first parabolic flight campaign in Paderborn in 2021, we are again on board the A310 Zero G of the French company Novespace in Bordeaux. As a result of the flights two years ago, during which examinations of the retinal vessels during free fall were carried out for the first time worldwide, it was possible to prove that the micro-blood vessels of the retina react to weightlessness. This year, the investigations will be continued and expanded. The aim is to repeat the detection and obtain new additional data.

During the flights, which last about 3-4 h, a total of 31 parabolas of 3 min each are performed. The team is first exposed to 1.8 times the acceleration due to gravity for about 20 seconds. This is followed by 22 seconds of free fall, during which there is practically weightlessness. The greatest challenge is certainly the fact that very large forces act on the bodies of the investigators and the test subjects during these flight phases, while the examination requires that the eye is held in position in front of the optics of the measuring device with millimeter precision. An additional complicating factor is the fact that both test subjects and, above all, the examiners can feel really sick from the changing phases of the flight. Sometimes the only thing that helps is to reach for the bag and then we have to continue immediately, because the opportunity to carry out such examinations is extremely rare. That is why everyone in the team is highly motivated and fights to lead the company to scientific success.

The preparation of the technology has now been completed and the camera system has been brought on board and also already tested. Safety is of course the top priority here as well, and Novespace is not joking when it comes to compliance with all relevant parameters and procedures.

More information about the parabolic flights can be found here: https://www.airzerog.com/scientific-flight-campaigns/