Orbiting Earth, Swiss-Israeli Mini Lab Hurtles Forward With Experiments in Zero Gravity

SpacePharma lab the size of a tissue box operates in zero gravity, helping researchers make new discoveries in fields from medicine to agriculture.

Miniature satellite lab being prepared for takeoff, SpacePharma development labs, Herzaliya, Israel, February, 2017

Orbiting the earth at more than 500 kilometers (300 miles), a tiny satellite with a laboratory shrunk to the size of a tissue box is helping scientists carry out experiments that take gravity out of the equation.

The technology was launched into space last month by SpacePharma, a Swiss-Israeli company, which on Thursday announced that its first experiments have been completed successfully.

In space, with hardly any interference from earth's gravity, cells and molecules behave differently, helping researchers make discoveries in fields from medicine to agriculture.

Nestle turned to zero gravity - or what scientists refer to as microgravity - to perfect the foam in its chocolate mousse and coffee, while drugmakers like Eli Lilly have used it to improve drug designs.