Submission from Miss Agnieszka Skorko
I am a medical student in the UK and have recently
had the opportunity to get involved in the medical side of space-related
activities. This is a fascinating field with the potential to
teach a huge amount about human physiology, as much on Earth as
By taking part in space research the UK would
be able to participate in a highly intellectual field which can
answer many questions relating to Earth-bound medical situations.
Currently there is a small but growing group of individuals in
the UK, both practising doctors and students with many ideas for
research in the area of human space flight. The fields for research
with immediate relevance to clinical practise are numerousranging
from simple areas such as fluid balance in the body to new technologies
such as stem cell research. All such fields have the potential
to yield huge amounts of information about health and disease.
Researchers in other countries are developing
new technology for space flight which have the potential to improve
clinical practise on Earth. I myself have been part of one such
group. Many other investigators in such endeavours are from the
UK but the lack of a space programme in this country is driving
them abroad. If these individuals had the opportunity to develop
their ideas in the UK these innovations could ultimately be utilised
in the NHS to ensure a world-class standard of care.
Currently my only option for involvement in
this emerging field is to travel to the USA after graduation when
in fact my wish would be to remain in the UK and demonstrate to
the world the incredibly high calibre of research that is possible
in the UK.
Although the cost may seem high, I feel the
rewards will be much greater for the UK, not only from a medical
point of view. What have we achieved in recent years to inspire
the future generations to become involved in science? As a child
my most memorable experience was of meeting Helen Sharman and
hearing her inspiring story. Can we not repeat her extraordinary
experience with a UK astronaut being powered into space by technology
and knowledge developed here? I believe this goal is within our
grasp. Please don't let this opportunity pass our country by.