Bioethics in Space Exploration
The Mercury and Gemini programs were conducted with the primary objective of establishing capabilities required by the Apollo program in order to land man on the Moon. The Mercury program (1961–1963) included seven “experiments,” which were basically limited physiological monitoring that required crew participation. Gemini (1964–1966) included 27 experiments with 20 human subjects conducted over ten spaceflight missions. These limited studies analyzed chromosomal changes, effects on blood volume, cardiopulmonary changes, and bone demineralization. Further studies analyzed visual acuity, assayed body fluids, and determined exercise tolerance. Participation in these studies was not voluntary; it was required as part of mission assignments. The Apollo program (1968–1972) included approximately 123 biomedical evaluations on the 33 human subjects (ten missions), involving 30 investigators. Radiation was assessed in some detail, while other studies were conducted to determine...
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