A Mammogram Made By NASA

This is a NASA image. It's not a galaxy or a Saturnian moon. It's a breast mammogram made with the same tools used to enhance the images taken by their Earth observation satellites. And it helps doctors detect cancer earlier.

The software is now included in a system called MED-SEG. On the left, there's the usual mammogram image. On the right, the image post-processed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center's enhancing algorithms. The analysis tools artificially colour the black and white pictures to help doctors spot tumours more easily.

According to Dr Thomas Rutherford, director of gynaecologic oncology at Yale University, the "use of this computer-based technology could minimise human error that occurs when evaluating radiologic films and might allow for earlier detection of abnormalities within the tissues being imaged".

I don't know about you, but helping to detect cancer earlier and better is yet another great reason to keep the space program going strong. [Flickr]