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SpaceIL has chosen a first experiment for the Genesis 2 mission: testing the effectiveness of drugs in deep space missions

The first selected experiment led by Professor Sarah Eyal from the Hebrew University and in collaboration with Space Pharma and is designed to test the stability of drugs in space over time, in orbit around the moon

Last year, the SpaceIL association published a call for proposals for scientific experiments as part of the Genesis2 mission. The purpose of the experiments is to answer essential questions regarding staying in space or on the moon and to integrate scientific research that can be made educationally accessible to students, thereby bringing more young people closer to the world of science, as part of the association's vision.

Following this, SpaceIL appointed a scientific advisory committee consisting of representatives of the association, leading scientists from the Israeli academy, educational bodies, the Israel Space Agency and SpaceIL partners. These days, the first experiment to be carried out during the Genesis 2 mission has been selected: an experiment to test the effectiveness and resistance of drugs for astronauts over time in deep space missions

These days the association is examining additional experiments that will be integrated into the Genesis 2 mission.

The first selected experiment is an experiment led by Professor Sarah Eyal from the Hebrew University and is designed to test the stability of drugs in space over time, in orbit around the moon. The experiment will be performed on a number of different drugs, some of which are life-saving and some of which are "comfortable" drugs that contribute to a better standard of living in space.

Instructions for proper and appropriate storage are written on each drug so that the effectiveness of the drug is not compromised, but how are astronauts supposed to store them in space? Today, each crew member aboard the International Space Station (ISS) consumes an average of 20 medications per week of flight or stay in space. Common medications used by astronauts in space include sleeping pills, pain relievers, and antibiotics.

The use of medications during long space missions may be challenging in light of the extended mission times, lack of resupply capability and prolonged exposure to space radiation. In addition, the lack of medical recall of the staff in case of emergency leaves no room for mistakes and failures. The drugs taken into space must be safe and effective throughout the duration of the mission, which can continue for years for missions to Mars or the lunar settlements. However, the limited information currently available indicates that drugs may break down faster in space than on Earth, when the reason for this is probably due to radiation, a process that may lead to the loss of the strength of the drug and its effectiveness or to the formation of toxic decomposition products that may endanger the lives of the astronauts.

The experiment will help examine which drugs are more resistant in space and how they are affected over time by the space environment.

The experiment will be carried out throughout the lifetime of the capsule, the results will be broadcast to KDA, analyzed by the scientific team and then published to the general public for future benefit in space travel. The results could help in choosing drugs suitable for staying in deep space, which could make the difference between a successful mission and a failed one.

The experiment will be conducted in a sealed box mounted on the Genesis 2 spacecraft (Mekfat) which will circle the moon for several years, and will contain a mini-laboratory where the experiment will take place and which is being developed by the Space Pharma company from Israel and a world leader in the subject. The laboratory will transfer the results to the computer, which will transfer the results to the website. Inside the mini-lab are the drugs and Raman spectrometers that sample the composition of the drugs with the help of a laser and thus save the need to return the sample back to Earth for composition analysis.

The experiment will be run every few months by the research team that includes Professor Sarah Eyal, Prof. Aharon Oren and Dr. Tamar Stein from the Hebrew University, and scientists from Charles University in the Czech Republic, Ghent University in Belgium, the International Space University and Prof. Ran Gnoser from the Technion (who also serves as as president Ramon Spies).

According to Shimon Sharid, head of the association SpaceIL: "I thank all the members of the committee who helped to choose the experiment from all the proposals we received from organizations, scientists and educational institutions from Israel and the world. I welcome the selection of the experiment that combines the teamwork of researchers, universities and companies from Israel and abroad, who together will be able to expand human knowledge in deep space and be an inspiration to future generations of researchers."

According to Kafir Demari, founder and deputy CEO SpaceIL  : "Besides the records that Genesis 2 is expected to break in world space history, including a double landing on the moon in one mission, we invested a lot of effort in choosing the various experiments that will be launched with us in the Genesis 2 mission. We carefully chose the first experiment for the orbit so that they would have as much influence as possible for the success of future long-term missions on the moon and beyond."

Prof. Sarah Eyal from the School of Pharmacy of the Hebrew University:

"Examining the stability of medicines in space is a task of international importance that will advance and perfect the capabilities of astronauts in space for an unprecedented stay in their groundbreaking missions. This is a first experiment of its kind in the world, and therefore of utmost importance that will also lead to increased awareness of the correct and safe use of medicines here on earth. It is a great pride to take part in a research journey that has never been attempted before, and we all hope that the results of the research will be useful to the entire scientific community in Israel and the world. On this occasion, I would like to thank the members of the committee, SpaceIL, and the management of the Hebrew University for the unique opportunity to take part in the Genesis 2 mission."

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