3D Printed Heart on the International Space Station Could Help Astronauts Explore The Deep Space

If humans must explore deep space, scientists and space agencies have to figure out how to sustain the crew throughout the journey. Learning how to sustain every part of the human body is crucial for the success of crewed deep space exploration. Researchers are already developing 3D printed heart which they hope to launch to the International Space Station in 2027.

These scientists are researching how artificial organs can survive when exposed to the hostile environment of space. The goal of this research is to determine if the human heart can survive the harsh radiation of space during the journey deep into our solar system.

What you should know about the research on 3D Printed Heart

Scientists working on this project named it Pulse and European Innovation Council financed it. The researchers revealed their intention of making long-term space exploration safe and more reliable through the development of complex and simple bioprinted materials.

Aside from boosting humanity’s goal in space, the team also emphasizes the importance of this research in improving the medicine humans take on Earth. They revealed that the outcome of the research can help in improving cancer therapies which can likely expose the human body to high radiation.

“The ambitious goals of the PULSE project are as much related to space research as they are to healthcare on Earth,” Lorenzo Moroni, project coordinator and professor of biofabrication for regenerative medicine at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, revealed in a statement. “Bioprinted organoids that closely replicate the complexity of human organs have the potential to reduce the reliance on animal experimentation and provide a more accurate and efficient platform to study disease mechanisms and evaluate drug responses.”

Why Studying the Reaction of Space to the human body is Essential using the 3D printed heart research

Artistic impression of the PULSE project platform using magnetic and acoustic levitation to bio print a human heart model. (Image credit: IN society)

No agency has sent fully 3D printed heart to the International Space Station in the past. Therefore, this highly innovative research will be beneficial for the future of humanity both on Earth and in deep space. However, this is not the first time researchers are experimenting with the dangers of space to the human heart. Scientists from Brown University and Johns Hopkins University once partnered and worked with NASA to transport some cardiac tissue specimens to the International Space Station some years back.

The primary aim of this mission is to study how each individual cell reacts in space. That research was called “tissue-on-a-chip,” and it focuses on educating scientists about the microgravity conditions on the cells. Since the space environment copies the effect of aging on the human body, the experiment will also help scientists to study if natural cardiac muscle damage will reverse.

How Astronauts Take Care of the body in space

The microgravity of space has a unique effect on the human body. Hence, astronauts in space stations are always checking their cardiovascular to ensure their safety. They mostly use the Canadian Space Agency’s Vascular Echo to conduct active scientific heart studies. During these studies, the crew monitors how their arteries and heart communicate with blood pressure changes that occurred in space.

Once the PULSE program commences in the ISS, scientists study full artificial hearts in the microgravity environment of space and learn how the crew will sustain their hearts in deep space. However, the PULSE program has several advantages over other cardiovascular studies conducted in space.

This is because this forthcoming experiment has a real artificial heart involved in the process. Researchers working on this program hope to develop these hearts accomplished with a fascinating technology which they named “PULSE technology.” The PULSE technology will be designed as a system that operates with magnetic levitation and acoustic levitation.

While magnetic levitation operates with magnetic fields for a similar effect, acoustic levitation operates with sound waves which it uses to keep an item in the mid-air. Since the PULSE technology comes with two levitation methods, researchers will be able to accurately manipulate several parts of a bioprinted organ. The manipulation will be so detailed that the specimen will perfectly resemble its real counterpart.


Scientists are working on a PULSE program to experiment on 3D printed heart to study the effect of the microgravity of space on the human heart. The outcome of this research will help our civilization in preparing for crewed deep space exploration in the near future. What do you think about this?

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