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A space-age way to screen for skin cancer in the future?

The European Space Agency announced this week that a high speed camera used to monitor vegetation from space is being tweaked to discern abnormalities in human skin cells in the early stages.

This technology could soon play a major role in keeping us healthy. © (...)

This technology could soon play a major role in keeping us healthy. © Courtesy of European Space Agency

Called, Proba-V, the camera wouldn’t perform this duty from outer space, but rather it would be mounted on a standard medical scanner.

Previous Earth missions that the Proba-V has successfully completed include helping improve the quality of solar cells being constructed and spotting deficiencies in items on production lines.

These include fast-moving production lines that involve sorting materials or manufacturing fragile objects such as bottles, which may look similar to humans.

The lens is able to see light in the shortwave infrared range that’s invisible to the human eye, making it well suited to its current crop surveillance duties.

"To humans, two green trees could look similar. But with this camera, we might detect that one is growing well and the other is unhealthy," says Michael Francois of the European Space Agency.

One day soon, the camera could be used to peer deep inside tissues and to map inconsistencies on the body’s skin but scientists did not say when it would be ready for that use.

AFP/Relaxnews

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