This project will produce a versatile multi-beam x-ray source and configurable imaging systems for human subject imaging on space stations, planetary excursions and planetary or asteroid bases. MPXS will meet the imaging needs for the dental and musculoskeletal (MSK) imaging conditions of current interest to NASA. MPXS systems will go beyond the capabilities currently planned by enabling 3D/tomographic imaging, which will be particularly useful in MSK imaging and in some dental imaging. MPXS can then be used for a much greater number of medical conditions of interest to NASA, particularly head and neck injuries, several conditions requiring imaging of the chest area and dual energy X-ray osteoporosis imaging. The specific gaps the proposed work addresses are 4.02 (We do not have the capability to provide non-invasive medical imaging during exploration missions) and 3.03 (We do not know which emerging technologies are suitable for in-flight screening, diagnosis, and treatment during exploration missions). Although not a focus in Phase I, MPXS could also be used for applications such as 4.27 (We do not have the capability to sterilize medical equipment during exploration missions). Other applications could include sources for a range of instruments NASA uses on space missions, including XRF and XRD. The sources carried on board for imaging applications could be used for sample analysis both on spacecraft and bases and perhaps during excursions.
There are many commercial applications of the core technology being developed in this project, including a wide range of pre-clinical, clinical and industrial imaging systems. Stellarray's smart x-ray sources, which MPXS will lead, can be used in various x-ray medical imaging systems, especially portable tomographic imaging (tomosynthesis or CT) for breast imaging, emergency medicine and systems for emerging markets. A major mobile radiography and tomographic systems integrator is now discussing with Stellarray the use of simpler versions of MPXS sources for its mobile radiography solutions. Stellarray will develop some systems on its own but more often sell sources and IP for applications where larger companies are better suited to clinical trials and market entry. MPXS sources will also be sold to other developers, particularly at universities and medical schools, a number of which have asked for our resources as they are developed. They could be sold at $75K range to these developers for a good business line. By the time NASA is testing MPXS systems for its missions there should be a reasonably sized installed base at universities generating research and tests results for an even wider range of medical conditions, including new application designs and reconstruction algorithms.