Space medicine: Israel, Italy to launch joint mission conducting zero gravity experiments

The experiment is not only a “wonderful example” of the close relations between Israel and Italy but also carries extraordinary potential on the business level.

By World Israel News Staff 

Israel and Italy are to jointly carry out a space mission to be launched at the end of March for the purpose of carrying out medical experiments that have the potential to produce a breakthrough, reports Israel Hayom.

According to the report, the launching of the unmanned satellite is one of the manifestations of closer ties that have been developing between the two countries.

The president of the Italian Space Agency, Giorgio Saccoccia, visited Israel on the occasion of Space Week at the end of January, says the newspaper.

He was a guest at the 15th Ilan Ramon International Space Conference, which took place as part of the special events. Space Week is organized by Israel’s Ministry of Science and Technology.

Ramon was an Israeli fighter pilot and later became the Jewish State’s first astronaut. At the age of 48, he and six other crew members of the Space Shuttle Columbia were killed in a re-entry accident on February 1, 2003.

Behind the upcoming Israeli-Italian launch are researchers from the two countries and Israel’s Space Pharma.

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The company says that its “mission is to leverage the miniaturized microgravity lab technology, enabling unprecedented possibilities to develop new drugs in Space.”

On its website, Space Pharma explains that “these labs provide an agile platform that can allow you to get unprecedented results that can not be obtained [in a] terrestrial setting.”

Two of the experiments to be conducted during the upcoming binational mission were originated by The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, says Israel Hayom.

Tel HaShomer Hospital, the largest hospital in Israel, located outside Tel Aviv, is behind an additional experiment, and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is responsible for a fourth experiment, says the report.

The research leading to one of the experiments was a collaborative effort involving professors from The Technion and the University of Bologna, says the Israeli daily.

Its purpose is to examine the behavior of anti-bacterial materials in space and the “influence on bacteria in zero gravity conditions,” the report adds.

The experiments are to be carried out “by remote control” from Earth, it notes.

In an interview with Israel Hayom, Saccoccia said that the experiment is not only a “wonderful example” of the close relations between Israel and Italy but also carries extraordinary potential on the business level.

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Asked why Rome was cooperating with Jerusalem in the realm of space research, the president of the Italian Space Agency praised Israel for the way it exploits technological education from a young age to advance space initiatives.