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Medicine NASA Space Science Technology

NASA Prepares For Space Surgery and Zero Gravity Blood 158

Hugh Pickens writes "Draining an infected abscess is a straightforward procedure on Earth but on a spaceship travelling to the moon or Mars, it could kill everyone on board. Now Rebecca Rosen writes that if humans are to one day go to Mars, one logistical hurdle that will need to be overcome is what to do if one of the crew members has a medical emergency and needs surgery. 'Based on statistical probability, there is a high likelihood of trauma or a medical emergency on a deep space mission,' says Carnegie Mellon professor James Antaki. It's not just a matter of whether you'll have the expertise on board to carry out such a task: Surgery in zero gravity presents its own set of potentially deadly complications because in zero gravity, blood and bodily fluids will not just stay put, in the body where they belong but could contaminate the entire cabin, threatening everybody on board. This week, NASA is testing a device known as the Aqueous Immersion Surgical System (AISS) that could possibly make space surgery possible. Designed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon and the University of Louisville, AISS is a domed box that can fit over a wound. When filled with a sterile saline solution, a water-tight seal is created that prevents fluids from escaping. It can also be used to collect blood for possible reuse."
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NASA Prepares For Space Surgery and Zero Gravity Blood

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  • by mbone ( 558574 ) on Sunday October 07, 2012 @10:12AM (#41576403)

    The ability of humans to perform well on the surface of any planet after months of zero-g seems doubtful. Build the spacecraft big enough, and rotate it. Better yet, send two spacecraft, tether them together, and rotate both of them about their center of mass. It will solve a lot more problems than the relatively minor one of dealing with in-space surgery.

  • by kurt555gs ( 309278 ) <kurt555gs@ovi . c om> on Sunday October 07, 2012 @10:17AM (#41576425) Homepage

    Why rotate. Nuclear powered spacecraft could simply keep accelerating at 1G until it was time to turn around and decelerate at 1G. Problem solves, and they would get there a lot quicker too.

  • Re:centrifuge (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Sunday October 07, 2012 @10:32AM (#41576489) Journal
    It's just stupid. They are wasting time and money doing research on crap like this when they should just spend it on building space stations with artificial gravity. You could do it with tethers and counterweights if you can't afford a huge space module.

    So much research on the "problems of doing things wrong". You cannot have a sustainable human population in space without artificial gravity, so such "zero gravity" research is niche and near dead end for long term space travel.

    Once you have artificial gravity and decent radiation shielding you can go to the asteroid belt which is a better choice than Mars since asteroids aren't huge gravity wells. It's not like Mars is a hospitable environment, so any talk of Mars is stupid at this point of time - it's like talking of jumping before you can even stand.

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