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Why NASA is sending MIRA, a tiny surgery assistant robot to ISS

See why NASA is sending this tiny surgery assistant robot to ISS

NASA is working on sending a tiny surgical robot assistant called MIRA to the International Space Station (ISS). The robot is to be launched on a rocket in 2024 and is still under exhaustive tests for its chances of surviving the launch and its functions.

MIRA — which stands for miniaturised in vivo robotic assistant — has been under development for about 20 years. It was invented by Professor Shane Farritor of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and along with engineering graduate student Rachel Wagner, they will be writing its software.

NASA will try to fit the robot into an experimental locker for its launch. However, why is the space agency going through so much stress? 

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As Gadgets360 explains, MIRA has two purposes. One of them is that it can allow surgeons to perform minimally invasive abdominal surgery because of its ability to enter the body via a tiny incision. Tests show that it can help in colon resections as well. 

Another reason for developing MIRA is that it can aid remote surgery. Imagine treating an injured person that is thousands of miles away or an astronaut that is on a mission to Mars. The robot could replace the mandatory inclusion of doctors on potentially dangerous field missions.

Its 2024 launch to the ISS will include testing its ability to work independently of astronauts and doctors in a simulated surgical environment. Wagner explained that the simulations would enable them to gather as much data as possible to make it more effective.

“The astronaut flips a switch, the process starts and the robot does its work by itself. Two hours later, the astronaut switches it off and it’s done,” Wagner further said about how the robot will do its work independently.

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Onwuasoanya Obinna

A reader of books and stringer of words. Passionate about Science and Tech. When not writing or reading he is surfing the web and Tweeting.