Mayo Clinic researching camera for doctor calls in space

Rocket blasts off with tool to check astronaut's health

By Mark Collins - Meteorologist
Exos Aerospace

A SARGE suborbital rocket lifted from Spaceport America in New Mexico Aug. 25 with a camera to remotely monitor astronaut’s vital signs. Exos Aerospace donated the rocket ride.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla - Doctors at Jacksonville's Mayo Clinic could soon be able to check the health of astronauts in space.

A new camera being researched by Mayo is packed with monitoring software that checks astronauts vitals signs without the burdens being attached to any equipment.

Exos Aerospace Systems donated a free rocket ride to space where the camera will first point at the second hand of a watch.  

“This can simulate how well the camera can pick up minute movements of the second hand while on a watch face floating in zero gravity,” says Michelle Freeman, M.D., a pulmonologist and critical care specialist at Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus. “In humans, the device tracks subtle pulsations in the blood vessels of the skin, telling us heartbeat and respiration rate.  The second hand of the watch will be our pulse for this trip.”

The second phase would be to test the camera on humans in simulated microgravity on a parabolic flight, and then potentially on astronauts onboard the International Space Station or commercial space ventures.

“Not only will this tool help ensure the health of astronauts and space tourists, on Earth, it could be beneficial in telemedicine and home health care,” says William D. Freeman, M.D., a neurologist at Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus who is partnering with his wife Dr. Michelle Freeman on the monitoring project.

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