Beating “Hearts on a Chip” will travel into space on SpaceX’s Dragon cargo ship tonight

SpaceX’s Dragon cargo ship is scheduled to launch Tuesday evening (March 14) and carry nearly 6,300 pounds (2,860 kilograms) of cargo to the International Space Station (ISS). But alongside the spacewalk gear, vehicle hardware and fresh fruit for the crew, there will be several small devices containing something more unusual: beating human heart tissue.

The tissue will be used in two experiments — Cardinal Heart 2.0 and Engineered Heart Tissues-2 — that will test whether existing drugs can help prevent or reverse the adverse effects of space travel on the heart.

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