SpaceX will launch the 27th NASA Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-27) mission to the International Space Station (ISS) on Tuesday, March 14. A Falcon 9 rocket will propel a Dragon spacecraft to orbit at 8:30 p.m. ET from Launch Complex-39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Dragon will carry thousands of pounds of cargo, including supplies needed at the ISS and dozens of science investigations to conduct experiments at the orbiting laboratory, including the third Spaceomix Maleth Program science research project (Maleth-III). The uncrewed Dragon is scheduled to dock autonomously to the ISS at 7:07 a.m. ET on March 16. The mission will be livestreamed via NASA TV, video is linked below.
TESMANIAN had the opportunity to discuss the Maleth Program with University of Malta Professor Joseph 'Sci' Borg. He is a European molecular geneticist, biomedical laboratory scientist, and founder CEO of Spaceomix – a space technology company dedicated to advancing biomedical research. Professor Borg shared that Spaceomix teamed up with the University of Malta, MCAST, Weill Cornell Medicine, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, Metavisionaries, United Arab Emirates' Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, and Space Applications Services, to perform the Maleth-III mission. The program's multidisciplinary team includes researchers from the fields of medicine, biology, engineering, and physics.
Professor Borg is leading the Maleth Program's third mission which builds on the success of the first two missions that studied human skin tissue samples (microbiomes) from diabetic foot ulcers at the Space Station. "In Malta, we have successfully embarked on a series of missions as part of the Maleth program to space that represented our country's first-ever missions to space. This marked a historic milestone in our nation's space exploration journey. This program is a testament to our commitment to advancing scientific knowledge and pushing the boundaries of human exploration," said Borg. "Our missions to the ISS started in 2021 on SpaceX CRS-23, followed up a year later on Spacex CRS-25. The research involves cutting-edge research into the effects of spaceflight and microgravity on the human skin tissue microbiomes of diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs)," he told TESMANIAN.
The Maleth-III research that will launch on the upcoming SpaceX CRS-27 mission will further investigate the microbiomes of diabetic foot ulcers. "The human skin microbiome is a complex ecosystem of microorganisms that live on our skin and play a critical role in maintaining our health. Research has shown that disruptions to the skin microbiome can lead to a range of skin disorders and other health problems. This type of research can help both people here on Earth, as well as humans that venture deeper into space for Moon- and Mars- based exploration or longer duration missions aboard the ISS," explained Professor Borg.
The research aims to explore the effects of microgravity on the human microbiome and its adaptation to harsh environments in order to create potential medical treatments for diabetic patients. "We are thrilled to be launching the third mission of the Maleth Program in collaboration with our local and international partners. This mission represents a significant milestone in our quest to leverage space technology for biomedical research, and we are excited to see what insights we can gain from studying the microbiomes of diabetic foot ulcers in microgravity," said Professor Borg.
He shared that the Maleth-III experiment will be handled at the ISS Lab by United Arab Emirates (UAE) Astronaut Sultan Alneyadi, who recently launched to the Space Station aboard SpaceX's Crew-6 mission on March 3rd. Alneyadi graduated from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre's astronaut program and is the second Emirati to ever go to space and the first that will work at the ISS for a long duration mission of around six months.
Regarding the results of the first two Spaceomix Maleth research conducted at the Space Station, Professor Borg shared that– "All isolated bacteria are investigated by metagenomic sequencing, and human skin tissue DNA is profiled by whole genome sequencing. Published work so far has shown a small but important number of microorganisms that appear to grow and thrive more in space when compared to Earth controls," he said.
"This research allows further development of new medical technologies and interventions that could revolutionize healthcare on Earth and improve the quality of life for patients inflicted with DFUs and related complications," he added. "This program has also served as a stepping stone towards even more ambitious missions to deeper space, where we are currently exploring the potential for life adaptation and survival beyond Earth's lower orbit."
Professor Borg is also working on a second science research in collaboration with the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, called 'Pleiades', which aims to study astronauts' space-induced anaemia. The Pleiades project will launch on SpaceX's upcoming Polaris Dawn mission, as previously reported by TESMANIAN. "As we embark on this exciting new era of space exploration, we are proud to lead the way in life sciences research and to continue to push the boundaries of human knowledge and understanding. We look forward to sharing our findings and collaborating with all other nations and organizations to solve real world problems using space as a medium," Borg stated. Follow Professor Joseph 'Sci' Borg on Twitter @joseph_borg_ to stay up-to-date with his scientific research.
》 Author's note: Thanks for reading Tesmanian.com. If you have any story suggestions or feedback, feel free to Direct Message me on Twitter: Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo @JaneidyEve Or write your thoughts in the comment section below. Read my most recent stories here: Recent News Stories 《
It’s always a pleasure to discuss science & #space #research with @Tesmanian_com and @JaneidyEve 🙏 the key in making life multi-planetary is to get the #biology right starting from earth and all the way to 🌙, 🔴 and beyond. pic.twitter.com/8SS5fLBaAI
It’s always a pleasure to discuss science & #space #research with @Tesmanian_com and @JaneidyEve 🙏 the key in making life multi-planetary is to get the #biology right starting from earth and all the way to 🌙, 🔴 and beyond. pic.twitter.com/8SS5fLBaAI— Joseph ‘Sci’ Borg (@joseph_borg_) March 11, 2023
VIDEO: NASA TV SpaceX CRS-27 Mission Live Broadcast
Featured Image Source: NASA SpaceX Dragon / Professor Joseph Borg Spaceomix Maleth Program
About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.