Medical Research in the Mars Society
AbstractThe Mars Society promotes the near-term human exploration of Mars. Nevertheless, although many of the environment-related medical concerns can be “engineered out,” numerous concerns remain. This article presents an overview of the various areas of physiological and psychological concerns being evaluated by members of the Mars Society, organized as primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention. Recommendations regarding areas of needed research are made, and “engineered” solutions versus medical interventions are contrasted. Engineering solutions (primary prevention) can prevent injuries (as they have on Earth), but other areas of concern remain. Although study of engineered (primary) preventions predominate, Mars Society members actively engage in secondary and tertiary preventive research as well. Through its conferences, electronic discussion boards, and initiation of and funding for research projects, the Mars Society supports diverse areas of research toward the human exploration of Mars. At least 3 areas of concern—assured communications, tether dynamics, and Mars suits—remain understudied and underdeveloped. The society-initiated program TransLife, a privately developed biosatellite providing the first in-depth study of mammals in a Mars gravity environment, may supply data vital to the survival of humans on Mars.