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Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Telemedicine Being Tested For Space

Telemedicine in action.
Telemedicine in action.
Credit: National Insitutes of Health
NASA is conducting studies in cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to provide real-life data for telemedicine and its use in extreme, isolated environments. A Canadian astronaut will lead a crew on a 10 day mission in an undersea laboratory. Telemedicine will be tested extensively during this time. If it is successful, it could have far reaching implications for the well-being of International Space Station crew, as well as future long-duration missions to Mars.

Telemedicine can have many benefits that are not immediately obvious. For one, the infrastructure created in it will allow detailed diagnoses to be relayed from the best doctors on Earth to an astronaut-doctor on Mars. In addition, a single doctor or a single team of doctors stationed in one base on Mars could treat all of the colonists on Mars, whether they be one mile or half a world away. This kind of redundancy and efficiency means a great deal with the high costs and risks of sending humans to the Red Planet.

- posted by Brian @ 14:45 EST