As humans travel beyond Earth orbit, mission crews will discover new medical challenges of space exploration. The Exploration Medical Capability (ExMC) Element develops medical and information technologies to support crew health and performance, and develops guidelines for the integration of medical considerations into habitat, campaign, and mission design.
The goals and objectives of this project are to ensure that astronauts, especially for long duration exploration class missions, stay healthy and able to complete mission requirements. ExMC needs to learn what is necessary to design mitigation and countermeasures that guarantee this.
Health risks of space exploration beyond low Earth orbit include physiological and performance effects from hazards such as radiation, altered gravity, and hostile environments, as well as unique challenges in medical support, human factors, and behavioral health support.
The ongoing work of ExMC, supporting the 2033 Mars transit objective, is a collaborative effort among NASA centers. ExMC’s efforts to understand the required resources and workstation design requirements are crucial to support crew in exploration class space missions, like NASA’s journey to Mars, and may benefit healthcare on Earth, too.