Space Tourism Poses Challenges on Health
SFGate.com, the website of the San Francisco Chronicle, reports on the health challenges of space tourism, highlighting a paper published by UCSF Vascular Surgeon Marlene Grenon, M.D., C.M. and colleagues in the British Medical Journal discussing the field of space medicine for non-experts and clinicians alike.
The world may be on the brink of a vast new frontier of tourism - and that could raise a few odd, and at this point unanswerable, questions for doctors.
Such as, "What is the maximum time my patient with osteoporosis can spend on a vacation at a space hotel?"
That is exactly a question posed in a paper released Friday, proposing that the medical community needs to start thinking now about how to treat and advise the space tourists of the future.
"If someone's dream is to fly, we want them to fly," said Dr. Marlene Grenon, a UCSF vascular surgeon and co-author of the paper published in the British Medical Journal. "This field of space tourism is being created as we speak. It's going to be important to discuss the medical challenges now."
So maybe it'll be a few years - or decades, if we're talking about hotels - before space tourism takes off in the United States. As of now, only seven non-astronaut travelers have made it to space, all of them on board Russian rockets that carried them to the International Space Station for tens of millions of dollars each.
But the American space tourism industry is blooming, with half a dozen aerospace companies building aircraft to take regular folk into space - be it on two-hour suborbital adventures or multi-day cruises around the planet.