CONGRESS, THE PRESIDENT, and a task force of NASA's Advisory Council are studying a report that looks beyond the present gloom and offers a glowing forecast—with implications for medicine—for the next 50 years of space exploration.
The nation's space program has received more scrutiny in a shorter time this year than perhaps any federal activity in history. This latest report was prepared by members of the National Commission on Space.
In effect, their report (the commission itself ceased to exist this summer, 60 days after the report was transmitted to the President and Congress) supports NASA's humans-in-space policy, including what medicine can learn about prolonged exposure to that environment. And, in turn, NASA officials support the commission's report, saying they intend to carry out its recommendations.
Although humans have been taking journeys into space for a quartercentury with the declared goal of eventually living and working there for protracted periods