Instrumentation development at JPL is multi-faceted, and used to conduct planetary and astrobiology science instrument feasibility studies, concept formation, proof of concept instruments, and advanced component technology to the point where the devices created may address specific scientific objectives of likely future interplanetary science missions.
In this process, a number of technologies with biomedical device implications are created, such as the adaptation of modern molecular analytical methods to rapidly detect & classify the widest possible spectrum of Earth microbes carried by spacecraft, which could in turn improve microbe detection on Earth, or new technologies and procedures for spacecraft sterilization that could be applied to decreasing hospital infection rates.
Additionally, investigations into astrobiology and the instruments required to retrieve readings for analysis, also increase our understanding of the constraints life encounters in extreme environments, and leads to a better understanding of how to seek, identify, and characterize life and life-related chemistry that may exist or have existed on other solar system bodies. And of course, these efforts validate related life-saving technologies in remote and/or extreme environments on Earth.
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