Nanoracks has chosen Molecular Devices’ Spectramax M5e Multi-Mode Microplate Reader for use in NASA’s International Space Station, which will make it the first microplate reader to be used in space.
Molecular Devices’ M5e Reader is claimed to offer flexible configurations across all commonly-used detection methods to accommodate a wide range of life sciences applications.
The M5e Reader includes Softmax Pro Data Analysis software, designed to meet all throughput, content and multiplexing needs of researchers that conduct microplate-based analysis.
Nanoracks was attracted to the M5e Reader by its features, ease of operation and software.
The mechanics of the reader allow efficient adaptation to the zero gravity of space.
Claimed to combine the most features and capabilities in one unit, the M5e Reader is designed to be easily automated.
At Nanoracks, the challenge for the engineers will be to modify the plate reader in order for the unit to operate comfortably in the zero-gravity environment of the space station.
Once the M5e Reader is operational, space-based researchers will be able to conduct analysis on-orbit.
Jeffrey Manber, managing director of Nanoracks said: ’Having the Spectramax M5e Reader on orbit will allow researchers to undertake research with real-time results.
’It was difficult and time consuming to undertake quality, repetitive research projects before the completion of the International Space Station.
’A new era has begun, and researchers will be able to do quality work without the cloak of gravity,’ he added.
Researchers will also use the reader to do sophisticated analysis of experiments in areas such as biochemistry, molecular biology, stem cell and cancer research, immunology, enzymatic type studies, microbial growth and endotoxin testing.
’We believe this will be the first time ever that researchers will be able to see on-orbit reactions happening via the use of fluorescence polarisation - this is breaking into new areas of sophisticated research,’ said Manber.
The M5e Reader will join Nanoracks line of commercial hardware on the space station, which includes microscopes, a centrifuge and their research platforms.
Under the terms of the NASA service contract awarded to Nanoracks, the M5e Reader will be owned by Nanoracks.
NASA-sponsored researchers will have access to the unit while allowing Nanoracks to market the plate reader to commercial users.
The Space Act Agreement with NASA’s US National Lab allows Nanoracks to develop, operate and market research equipment and services within the US National Lab on the space station.