The Final Frontier
As four climbers make their assault on Mt. Everest's summit
this week, NASA and Yale University will be testing new health
care devices based on space science technology. From the
mountain's extreme environment, health data will travel from the
base camp to the NASA-Yale telemedicine project. The problems of
high-altitude adaptation, physiological stress and the climbers'
location represent great medical challenges similar to an
astronaut's situation in space.
News story originally written on May 16, 1998
A team will be at the base camp of 17,500 feet. The climbers will transmit data to the team such as vital signs, location and, whenever possible, video of their progress.
Tests on Mt. Everest may lead to design improvements in medical monitoring for astronauts who may be in space for months, not weeks.
"In a few months we will begin assembly of the International Space Station with an eye toward further exploration of our solar
system," said NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin. "To ensure a
safe trip for our astronauts, we need the best computational,
communication, engineering, and medical technology. At NASA, we
are working on virtual environments for surgery, decision support
systems and the most advanced medical monitoring techniques. Just
think what this could mean for health care here on Earth. The
NASA-Yale project is helping us achieve these goals. I wish our
Mt. Everest pioneers great success as they help NASA climb the final frontier."