In a sign of the times in which we now live, a paper published in the latest edition of medical journal BMJ advises clinicians that they will soon be asked to clear patients for the rigors of spaceflight, and they need to be ready to do so. With space tourism becoming more feasible for more and more people, it’s inevitable that patients are going so start asking their doctors for such evaluations, just as they might ask if they are health enough to go scuba diving or mountain climbing.
The paper advises clinicians to share their experiences and consider developing some kind of source file that other medical personnel can draw upon for case studies and reference. It also calls for medical documentation of spaceflight cases past be made readily available to doctors serving a generalpublic that will soon be visiting the upper reaches of the atmosphere and beyond.
Spaceflight is not for everyone. Common side effects include motion sickness, vomiting, back pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, dehydration, long and arduous cold wars, loss of sleep, and in rare cases: death. In some cases spaceflight has proven habit-forming. Popular Science reminds you to consult your doctor before leaving the planet.