The study entitled “Long-term stability of medications essential for human well-being in outer space” was proposed by an international group of collaborators including Dr. Virginia Wotring, Professor at the International Space University (ISU) Central Campus. Her role is to select mission-relevant medications for study and interpret results in light of mission needs. The project is led by Dr. Sara Eyal, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and also includes experts in Raman spectroscopy (the primary analytical technique proposed for use) Dr. Jan Jehlička, Charles University, Prague, Dr. Peter Vandenabeele, Ghent University, Dr. Aharon Oren, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Dr Tamar Stein, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Dr. Ran Ginosar, Israel Institute of Technology and Ramon.Space, as well as Eng. Vitali Rukin, Space Pharma, who will manage system integration.
Space exploration missions will be long, years longer in fact, than the safe and effective shelf life of most medications. Even worse, extreme environments can reduce the safe shelf life of medications. The project aims to conduct, for the first time, measurements of drugs and their degradation products in the deep space environment, providing an accurate estimation of the safe and effective shelf life during exploration missions and supporting evidence-based selection of key medications for medication kits onboard spacecraft.
The deep space medication stability study will be designed to operate autonomously over the five years of Beresheet2 lunar orbit. Multiple education and outreach projects have been proposed to raise public awareness of medication stability issues and to aid in the training of the next generation of pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, and others interested in design of autonomous, miniaturized systems that could be used in remote and challenging environments. ISU students will have the opportunity to participate in exciting new research projects related to this lunar mission.
Picture Credit: SpaceIL