ALTHOUGH FUTURE physicians might find locum tenens opportunities on Mars, some of today's physician-astronauts are researching the physiologic consequences of the long-term space travel required to reach the Red Planet in the first place.
Ten physician-astronauts, including 4 women, are enrolled in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) space program. Nine have already flown on space missions and the other expects to do so in the near future.
An unprecedented three physicians will be on board this year's Spacelab Life Sciences 1 (SLS-1) mission. (And two physician-astronauts, Manley L. Carter, Jr, MD, and F. Story Musgrave, MD, flew on a Department of Defense space shuttle mission in November.)
The SLS-1 mission is scheduled for August 16. Among the crew members will be astronauts M. Rhea Seddon, MD, and James P. Bagian, MD, and payload specialist Francis Andrew (Drew) Gaffney, MD.
This mission, involving the first space laboratory dedicated to