Is Every Space Tourist Fit To Travel?

More should be done towards creating a resource file to help medical professionals evaluate whether the average person can handle space travel, say the authors of a new paper.

What's the Latest Development?


A recently-published British Medical Journal paper suggests that efforts should be made towards creating a resource that will help doctors and others evaluate whether the average citizen can physically and mentally handle a trip into space. While the paper doesn't recommend specific binding regulations, it does encourage further research along the lines of that performed by the Federal Aviation Administration earlier this year, which resulted in a 23-page document containing possible pre-flight measurement guidelines.

What's the Big Idea?

Space tourism is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, yet currently there is no protocol for determining whether individuals who aren't astronauts, military personnel, or scientists are healthy enough to travel. Plenty of data exists about the effects of space flight on the human body, thanks to the relatively small number of people who have gone into space, but the average medical professional doesn't have that information readily available for a private citizen looking for a checkup. Plus, simply applying the same stringent requirements used by the government may hobble industry growth, says lead author Marlene Grenon. She and her co-authors are affiliated with medical schools in the US and Canada as well as the Canadian Space Agency and Virgin Galactic.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Related Articles

Why Japan's hikikomori isolate themselves from others for years

These modern-day hermits can sometimes spend decades without ever leaving their apartments.

700,000 Japanese people are thought to be hikikomori, modern-day hermits who never leave their apartments (BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images).
Mind & Brain
  • A hikikomori is a type of person in Japan who locks themselves away in their bedrooms, sometimes for years.
  • This is a relatively new phenomenon in Japan, likely due to rigid social customs and high expectations for academic and business success.
  • Many believe hikikomori to be a result of how Japan interprets and handles mental health issues.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists discover what caused the worst mass extinction ever

How a cataclysm worse than what killed the dinosaurs destroyed 90 percent of all life on Earth.

Credit: Ron Miller
Surprising Science

While the demise of the dinosaurs gets more attention as far as mass extinctions go, an even more disastrous event called "the Great Dying” or the “End-Permian Extinction” happened on Earth prior to that. Now scientists discovered how this cataclysm, which took place about 250 million years ago, managed to kill off more than 90 percent of all life on the planet.

Keep reading Show less

Why we're so self-critical of ourselves after meeting someone new

A new study discovers the “liking gap” — the difference between how we view others we’re meeting for the first time, and the way we think they’re seeing us.

New acquaintances probably like you more than you think. (Photo by Simone Joyner/Getty Images)
Surprising Science

We tend to be defensive socially. When we meet new people, we’re often concerned with how we’re coming off. Our anxiety causes us to be so concerned with the impression we’re creating that we fail to notice that the same is true of the other person as well. A new study led by Erica J. Boothby, published on September 5 in Psychological Science, reveals how people tend to like us more in first encounters than we’d ever suspect.

Keep reading Show less