Telemedicine, Investing in Innovation

Human Spaceflight - An Analog for Earth

Wednesday, August 11 at 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM PDT
Venetian, Veronese 2501
We are in an unprecedented era of human space exploration requiring significant innovation in remote medical capabilities to optimize crew health and safety. NASA and commercial spaceflight companies are deep in preparation for human space explorers to journey beyond the ISS, specifically back to the moon and onward to Mars in deep space. This expansion of human spaceflight missions, in both duration and in distance will impose new hazards and new technical challenges, necessitating earth-independent capabilities and a shift from augmented to autonomous self-health and medical management. NASA has to empower health and medical management in remote and resource constrained environments; which in many ways parallels our healthcare needs on Earth. The need for contactless and closed-loop technologies was greatly highlighted by the pandemic. For this reason, human spaceflight is an excellent edge-case or analog for development of terrestrial health technologies.

Learning Objectives

  • Examine health risks anticipated with human space travel beyond the ISS in low Earth orbit and explore technical and practical challenges in optimizing crew health and safety in spaceflight and how these will be magnified on longer distance missions
  • Identify the need for a closed-loop integrated health surveillance system and the necessary technical components including sensing, advanced computing and feedback capabilities
  • Highlight current strategies by NASA and spaceflight researchers to advance capabilities in remote health and medical management in anticipation of longer duration and longer distance missions
  • Discuss the opportunity to apply innovative earth-focused health technologies to the Spaceflight environment
  • Recognize human spaceflight as an analog and an accelerant for addressing terrestrial health needs in distributed or remote care systems
CEO, COO, Physician or Physician’s Assistant, Technologist


Kathleen Rubins, PhD
Aenor Sawyer, MD, MS
Director, University of California Space Health
UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery