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Scientists are already studying how to solve crimes in space using forensics

Published Mar 13th, 2024 5:45PM EDT
two astronauts during mission to mars
Image: Gorodenkoff

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Space exploration is here to stay. In fact, there are plenty of people looking to either put humans on the moon, put humans on Mars, or just put humans into orbit around Earth. And wherever humanity goes, violence and crime are sure to follow, some researchers warn. That’s why some scientists are already looking into new space forensics so they can better solve future space crimes when they happen.

The topic was a major focus of a new study from researchers at Staffordshire University and the University of Hull. The research, published in Forensic Science International: Reports, details how the scientists have begun studying bloodstain patterns in microgravity environments.

To test the nature of space forensics, the researchers conducted experiments aboard a modified Boeing 727 parabolic aircraft. They used a mixture of 40 percent glycerin and 60 percent red floor coloring to simulate the relative density and viscosity of human blood. They then released the droplets of blood from a hydraulic syringe during periods of reduced gravity.

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Crime scene tape is displayed at the site of an incident. Image source: fergregory/Adobe

The hope was that these instances would provide some details about how blood moves during microgravity situations so that they could better understand how they might go about measuring blood patterns for crimes committed in these kinds of environments. The blood was released during stages of 0.00 to 0.05 g, and the researchers then had to reconstruct the angle of the impact.

They found that the surface tension and cohesion of blood droplets are amplified when there is a lack of gravitational influence. This means that blood droplets released in space will likely stick to surfaces until a greater force causes them to detach. It also means that the droplets exhibit a slower spread rate and therefore have shapes and sizes that aren’t reflected in any instance on Earth.

This is the first time that scientists have looked at any kind of space forensics. As such, the researchers say this is a completely new era of forensic science, and they have even begun to refer to it as astroforensics, saying that more research is needed to properly understand how blood will act in microgravity situations.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.