Study of drug degradation at Mars Desert Research Station
Medications degrade over time. Degradation of an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) can result in reduced drug potency and increased toxicity due to the formation of degradation products. This degradation is accelerated by suboptimal storage conditions, as well as by some environmental factors of a Mars expedition such as microgravity, temperature variations and radiations, which may catalyze these drug alterations.
With an expected duration of 6 to 7 months, a journey to Mars will most likely expose drugs to significant risk. It is then of paramount importance to study these risks and the accelerated degradation they provoke. A better understanding of this phenomenon will help to elaborate a specially designed space-grade packaging to ensure safety of acute and prolonged treatments to astronauts. During our mission we will study the degradation of a series of active pharmaceutical ingredients over time. We will quantify these molecules both in pure form and in tablets using UV-Vis spectroscopy and infrared spectroscopy.