Your assistance is requested in evaluating our current medical-care system and recommending the type of infrastructure we will need to develop to support long-duration missions, including interplanetary travel in which timely evacuation of crew members will not be an option. Medical-care-provider training, specialty mix, nonmedical crewmember skills, use of advanced technology, surgical/intensive care capability in space, rehabilitation approaches to cope with exposures to gravitational fields following exposures to microgravity, psychological/human-factors challenges and use of robotics for health monitoring, education, and possible surgery are examples of the types of issues we would like you to address. We would also like you to consider the use of analog environments, such as remote Antarctic stations, for training and research. Ethical considerations in the face of limited medical-care capability are also important issues that need examination.
You and your colleagues will surely find this an interesting and stimulating project in which your efforts will prove critical to the overall success of long-duration human space flight. I have designated Dr. Arnauld E.Nicogossian, Associate Administrator for Life and Microgravity Sciences and Applications, as the NASA contact point in this matter. We look forward to engaging the Institute of Medicine in this important task.