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Microscope Co-Designed By Ventura County Lecturer Is Used Aboard The International Space Station

It’s 254 miles up, orbiting the earth, and now the International Space Station has a new piece of equipment aboard, thanks to a Ventura County scientist.

A microscope created with help from a lecturer at California State University Channel Islands is being used on the ISS. 

The compact microscope – called the Lumascope – was co-designed by Physics lecturer Dr. Brian Rasnow.

“The microscope uses the characteristic called fluorescence, which is a fairly rare aspect of nature. Most of us are aware of fluorescence at Halloween parties where you put on some funky face make-up that under a black light glows brightly in a different color," he told KCLU. 

When the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Dec 7, it carried three Lumascopes in the so-called Dragon cargo capsule. 

The microscopes were part of a system installed in the space station, where they are being used to research the effect of microgravity on human cells. 

Credit Brian Rasnow

Caroline joined KCLU in October 2020. She won LA Press Club's Audio Journalist of the Year Award in 2022, 2023 and 2024.

Since joining the station she's won 10 Golden Mike Awards, 6 Los Angeles Press Club Awards, 2 National Arts & Entertainment Awards and a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Writing.

She started her broadcasting career in the UK, in both radio and television for BBC News, 95.8 Capital FM and Sky News and was awarded the Prince Philip Medal for her services to radio and journalism in 2007.

She has lived in California for eleven years and is both an American and British citizen - and a very proud mom to her daughter, Elsie.
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