Space medicine is a branch of science that deals with the effects of space flights on human beings.
Space medicine is a very important factor in manned missions. If the mission is long-term space mission then this poses serious health threat for the human body.
Several dangers await the space traveler. All celestial bodies are sources of radiation, and missions to planets like mars often imply dangerous passages close to the Sun. Sun is the most important source of radiation in the solar system. The spacecraft has to provide protection against background radiation and also from extraordinary solar activity.
Astronauts returning from prolonged stays aboard space stations have clearly shown that the human body severely deconditions when exposed to micro gravity conditions. On average, 1% of bone marrow is lost per month, which makes it practically unacceptable to consider a several years long mission without providing for artificial gravity by means of rotating the spacecraft.
Space medicine combines many types of medical specialties to examine the effects of space flight on humans and prevent problems associated with living in this unique, isolated, and extreme environment. Medical, scientific, and engineering teams work together to maintain the physical, mental, and social well being of humans in space and upon return to Earth.
The space medicine group performs three functions:
Medical operations- provides medical support to astronauts during all phases of training and missions.
Projects- development of medical technologies and procedures for enhancing performance and for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of illness and injury.
Aerospace medicine training- provides aerospace medicine training opportunities to medical students, medical residents, and physicians