NASA microgravity experiment: noninvasive biosensing for long distance space flights

The Terry Research Lab conducted a microgravity experiment in collaboration with NASA, which involved the use of a capsule that would be placed into a simulator of the small intestine. The simulator was modified to be semi-autonomous during the flight. This raised overall safety by reducing human interaction and allowed for simpler in-flight procedures. The major components of the simulator consisted of a pig intestine, two pressure vessels that were actuated along a guide rail to simulate peristaltic waves in the intestine, and a heating pad to maintain a normal bodily temperature. Software would control the pressure vessels in order to move the capsules through the intestine. After a set amount of time, the capsule would release a plate that was meant to attach to the intestine wall as the biosensor would. In-flight procedures involved three flight members. The first flight member would use a laptop to run the software that controlled the simulator, the second member would insert the capsule, and the third member would watch the simulator to observe capsule movement and ensure all the systems were running safely.