There are a lot of technical hurdles to overcome before we put boots on Mars, and one of the less obvious (thought certainly important) is how to deal with injuries that far away from Earth.
When you’re on Mars, access to medical care is limited to the supplies and expertise you bring with you. Sadly, considering the limited amount of space on a trip to Mars, it’ll be almost impossible to prepare for everything. So NASA scientists are trying to improve the odds with some cutting-edge new gauze that could quickly close wounds and even speed up the healing process.
It’s called electric gauze, and Seeker reports the tech could have a major impact on the way wounds heals, though it still needs a good bit of study to determine exactly how it might function in space or on a planet with different gravity (since blood flows differently depending of the gravity). Here on Earth, it obviously also has some potentially great implications.
"What's unique about this material is that it's electroactive -- meaning that if you warm it up, if you push on it, if you apply any load on it, even if you just blow on it -- it actually generates voltage,” Emilie "Mia" Siochi, a senior materials scientist at NASA's Langley Research Center, said in a video interview.
Put simply, the electric gauze applies voltage to a polymer, which creates a fiber. If they do it right, the fibers can serve as “scaffolding” for a cell as it heals. Scientists think that can make it heal faster and avoid infection, which could be critical for astronauts living on the fringe of space.