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Conceptual Drivers for an Exploration Medical SystemInterplanetary spaceflight, such as NASA's proposed three-year mission to Mars, provides unique and novel challenges when compared with human spaceflight to date. Extended distance and multi-year missions introduce new elements of operational complexity and additional risk. These elements include: inability to resupply medications and consumables, inability to evacuate injured or ill crew, uncharted psychosocial conditions, and communication delays that create a requirement for some level of autonomous medical capability. Because of these unique challenges, the approaches used in prior programs have limited application to a Mars mission. On a Mars mission, resource limitations will significantly constrain available medical capabilities, and require a paradigm shift in the approach to medical system design and risk mitigation for crew health. To respond to this need for a new paradigm, the Exploration Medical Capability (ExMC) Element is assessing each Mars mission phase-transit, surface stay, rendezvous, extravehicular activity, and return-to identify and prioritize medical needs for the journey beyond low Earth orbit (LEO). ExMC is addressing both planned medical operations, and unplanned contingency medical operations that meld clinical needs and research needs into a single system. This assessment is being used to derive a gap analysis and studies to support meaningful medical capabilities trades. These trades, in turn, allow the exploration medical system design to proceed from both a mission centric and ethics-based approach, and to manage the risks associated with the medical limitations inherent in an exploration class mission. This paper outlines the conceptual drivers used to derive medical system and vehicle needs from an integrated vision of how medical care will be provided within this paradigm. Keywords: (Max 6 keywords: exploration, medicine, spaceflight, Mars, research, NASA)
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Antonsen, Erik
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Hanson, Andrea
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Shah, Ronak
(KBR Wyle Houston, TX, United States)
Reed, Rebekah
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Canga, Michael
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
September 2, 2016
Publication Date
September 26, 2016
Subject Category
Aerospace Medicine
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: International Astronautical Congress
Location: Guadalajara
Country: Mexico
Start Date: September 26, 2016
End Date: September 30, 2016
Sponsors: International Astronautical Federation
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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