Microgravity Emergency Medical Containment System - A Concept of Architecture, Prototyping, and Usability Research
Crisman, Keith Elliott
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Exploration is intrinsic to human nature but is well understood to be accompanied by inherent risks to the explorer. This is particularly evident in the exploration of extreme environments such as long-duration space habitation; in which risk is increased due in particular to the distance from assistance, services, and replenishment of consumables. One of the major risks to extreme environment survivability is lack of access to emergency medical care. This risk is further amplified in the microgravity environment where terrestrial non-life-threatening conditions can become life threatening due to lack of next-level-care capabilities. The question posed within this research asks, ‘What is the best practice for handling a medical casualty in which access to advanced medical care necessitates rapid stabilization, isolation, and/or evacuation utilizing NASAs Lunar Gateway?’ The hypothesis herein is that when environmental isolation is time critical, it is imperative that rapid access to a stabilization-for-transport facility and other components thereof are readily available to the casualty. To best meet this requirement, it is suggested that a fully functional medical facility be considered for any manned station on Lunar orbit with access to environmental isolation capabilities. As previously stated, microgravity presents unique challenges to human psychology and physiology with the added risk of limited access to emergency medical care. In this environment, minor trauma is exacerbated by time to next level care and mundane injuries can become life-threatening. It is for these reasons that systems should be considered to not only prevent initial injuries but also to mitigate exacerbation of existing traumas or those occurring during or as a result of the mission. Such systems should be designed with casualty response as a critical component of a trauma stabilization-for-transport system as a high priority alongside allowing for high levels of autonomy and provisions for all other necessary services, automations, and self-sustainability during the lifespan of long-duration missions. These systems must be conceptualized with microgravity as a primary driving factor with emphasis placed on physical and cognitive ergonomics with considerations for system resilience to major disruption and modularity in congruence with the usability of legacy and novel space systems to include reusability. Design methodology used within this project is scenario based fully within the scope of Human-Centered Design. Given the complexities of off-planet habitation and the increased risk during prolonged missions, especially wherein mining operations and construction are considered off-planet, it is imperative to maintain a fully functional medical facility within close proximity to the operations with access to environmental isolation capabilities. This will be beneficial in time-critical medical emergency/environmental isolation events.