Today we’re talking about a little robot that could make a big difference for astronauts: it could perform surgery in space.

(And no, a patient recovering from space surgery would not have to just drink extra Tang.)

This is related to the Artemis program, which is intended to get humans back to the Moon for the first time in a half century – and keep them there for extended periods of time, either in orbit or on the lunar surface.

But when NASA has humans off-planet, they have to think about pretty much every contingency imaginable, including what to do if there’s a medical emergency in a place where even a rush trip back to Earth would take days.

Enter Miniaturized In-Vivo Robotic Assistance, or MIRA.

It definitely lives up to the M in MIRA: it’s just two pounds, when up to this point robo-surgery systems have usually been room-sized.

It’s designed to work in a low gravity or essentially zero-G environment, and it can either run autonomously or be operated remotely by a surgeon on earth.

MIRA won’t start on the Moon, though.

It’ll actually go first to the International Space Station for testing.

NASA wants to see how it works there so that it can calibrate future systems that might end up on the moon.

And just as a lot of the work in the early space program had benefits here on Earth, the MIRA project could also help patients who aren’t in a lunar capsule.

A miniature surgical robot could end up being deployed in hard to reach places, giving more medical options to people who aren’t near a hospital or can’t easily be taken to one.

And also giving more medical options to people in space other than the troublemaking Doctor Smith from Lost In Space.

I mean, if you’re on the moon, do you want that guy doing your surgery?

Cold brew coffee is amazing, but it takes a long time to brew.

Except now there’s a quicker way: scientist Anna Rosa Ziefuss developed a way to make cold brew in minutes, using lasers.


Cold brew coffee—pew, pew, pew—brewed with lasers! (Fast Company)

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Photo by Mibby23 via Flickr/Creative Commons