Aerospace Environmental Health: Considerations and Countermeasures to Sustain Crew Health Through Vastly Reduced Transit Time to/From Mars

Annette Sobel, Robert Duncan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

The concept of implementation of environmental health protection and sustainment in aerospace environments by definition implies a One Health systems approach. One Health indicates an inherently complex, contextually interrelated system with consideration of human, animal, plant, systems engineering, and environmental health, their interrelationships, and networks. One Health implies seamless integration of subsystem co-dependencies to achieve an outcome of overall health protection for the individual. One of the most challenging aspects of space travel involves prevention, mitigation and protection from radiation injuries. While avoidance altogether is the best approach, these authors will focus on minimized exposure through limiting time in the space radiation environment in the transit to Mars and back. Implementation of the pillars of time, distance and shielding comprise ALARA, “As Low as Reasonably Achievable” (www.cdc.gov/nceh/radiation/alara.html) and is stressed in this strategy. This general overview will briefly describe the critical components of space environmental health in anticipation of increasing duration and interaction of human, animal, and plant habitation of aerospace and extreme environments into the future. Of the many considerations that could be addressed, precision medicine, and bioinformatics are the most rapidly evolving. Complex interdependencies will emerge from macro- and micro-environmental ecosystems data analysis, not yet fully comprehended or understood in the context of space health. We will conclude this contribution with suggested new countermeasure strategies gleaned through big data analytics that may protect space crew through mitigation of radiation exposure in flight.

Original languageEnglish
Article number327
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Volume8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 19 2020

Keywords

  • aerospace environmental health
  • bioinformatics
  • nuclear propulsion
  • precision medicine
  • radiation countermeasures

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