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

Jan 7, 2021

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