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Microflow, a toaster-sized disease detector, will get its first test run in space

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The Canadian Space Agency has announced the successful development of Microflow, a toaster-sized flow cytometer that could be used to diagnose diseases on long-term space missions.

Microflow
Microflow

The Canadian Space Agency has announced the development of Microflow, a toaster-sized flow cytometer that could be used to diagnose diseases on long-term space missions. Microflow's size and weight (about 22 pounds) make it ideal for use in space because of the high fuel cost to launch heavy objects, but its portability may also prove useful in other applications. The device works by passing particles in front of a laser, and then uses various detectors to analyze their physical and chemical properties. This entire process, according to the CSA, takes just ten minutes, and if it functions properly, could revolutionize medical care in space and underdeveloped countries alike. The device will be tested on the International Space Station during a mission set to launch in December of this year.