Funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) through its General Studies Programme (GSP) (www.esa.int/gsp), this activity aimed to provide more insights on the possible space applications of micro- and nanoencapsulation (MNE) techniques and technologies. NASA performed some early studies3,4 in the international space station (ISS) with aim to assess whether new drugs could be produced under a microgravity environment. However, the study of MNE in the space context remained primarily limited to these few experiments.
While high-level needs are well identified in terms of astronaut's health (e.g. countermeasures, drug delivery) and life support (e.g. food taste, cleanliness, odours management, bio-active component protection), yet micro and nanoencapsulation-based technologies have not been assessed to bring a solution to some of the needs specified above.
The overall objective of this GSP study was therefore to assess the potentials of MNE for this targeted subset of space applications namely "Astronaut's Health, Wellbeing and Life Support" and detect promising routes for future related activities.