We're getting ever closer to a Star Trek style sick bay in space with the arrival of the first X-ray scanner on the International Space Station.Astronauts will use the device to study the effects on rodents of extended periods of time spent in microgravity. Bones deteriorate quickly in space, losing about 1 to 2 per cent of their mass for every month away from Earth. Muscles and organs also suffer in low gravity. This knowledge will be essential in knowing how the human body might fare during a long term mission to Mars.
Stainless steel components have replaced any made of tin or zinc, as these metals can grow slender crystalline "whiskers" that might break off and cause damage.
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