Scott Dulchavsky: Diagnosing Injuries in Space
An astronaut aboard the ISS uses an ultrasound device to monitor a fellow astronaut.
Courtesy of NASA.
In spite of extensive astronaut training, space flight is inherently dangerous, and serious injuries are always possible. Treating these injuries requires accurate, timely diagnosis. National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) scientist, Scott A. Dulchavsky, MD, PhD, has developed a technique to train space flight crews to conduct medical-quality ultrasound imaging in space.
Images of the suspected injury are collected with a portable ultrasound unit, and within seconds, the image is transmitted to Earth, where experts can confirm the diagnosis and guide the treatment procedures.
The Unseen Ocean Floor
In this activity, by the Sea Education Association, students use a marked stick to probe the clay "sea floor" of a water-filled box.
Mapping the Ocean
Students create an ocean floor profile from sonar data. Using an equation, based on the speed of sound in water, students determine the depth of the ocean floor at measured distances from the shoreline.
Mountains in the Sea
Students are introduced to seamounts present in the Gulf of Alaska, and explore sea floor mapping techniques by creating an ocean floor topographic map from clay models in a simulation of sonar mapping.
Have students investigate ultrasound and telemedicine careers.
Students can visualize the ultrasound process using a simple wave tank, which can be assembled from a clear baking dish and a flashlight. Place different reflecting surfaces at one end of the dish and create waves at the other end. A short stick, held horizontally, can make a strong wave for reflection. Elevate the dish and shine a flashlight from above the tank to create shadow on a white surface below. Reflected wave patterns change with the different shaped reflecting surfaces (straight, curved, slanted, etc.). Download illustration (pdf).
Science@NASA article provides information about astronauts giving themselves ultrasound tests on the International Space Station.
How Ultrasound Works
Article on the Howstuffworks website explains how ultrasound works.
Advanced Diagnostic Ultrasound in Microgravity (ADUM)
Details on Scott Dulchavsky's International Space Station experiment. Brief: The Advanced Diagnostic Ultrasound in Microgravity (ADUM) experiment involves crewmembers conducting ultrasound exams on one another to determine the accuracy of ultrasound use to diagnose certain types of on-orbit injuries and illnesses, as well as to assess the feasibility of ultrasound for monitoring in-flight bone alterations.
Ultrasound – A Diagnostic Tool for Space, Sports and More
The National Space Biomedical Research Institute's news release on Scott Dulchavsky's ultrasound research.
Wikipedia entry on ultrasound.
National Science Standards
Physical Science – Position and Motion of Objects
The position of an object can be described by locating it relative to another object or the background.
Science in Personal and Social Perspectives – Science and technology in local challenges
People continue inventing new ways of doing things, solving problems, and getting work done.
Science as Inquiry – Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
Use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data.
Science in Personal and Social Perspectives – Science and Technology in Society
Technology influences society through its products and processes.
Science as Inquiry – Use technology and mathematics to improve investigations and communications
A variety of technologies, such as hand tools, measuring instruments, and calculators, should be an integral component of scientific investigations.
Science as Inquiry – Understandings about Scientific Inquiry
Scientists usually inquire about how physical, living, or designed systems function.
Scientists rely on technology to enhance the gathering and manipulation of data.
Physical Science – Interactions of Energy and Matter
Waves, including sound and seismic waves, waves on water, and light waves, have energy and can transfer energy when they interact with matter.
Science and Technology – Understandings about science and technology
Science often advances with the introduction of new technologies.