Submission from Daniela Garelick, Medical
Involvement in space exploration is important
in order to help answer fundamental scientific questions, advance
scientific understanding of technology, medicine and other related
sciences. It also provides unique training opportunities and skills
for those involved, and helps inspire the younger generation to
become involved with the sciences.
I am a medical student studying at University
College London. I have taken a BSc in Physiology and Pharmacology,
which included a module on Space and Extreme environment medicine.
I found this subject hugely interesting and it has resulted in
me gaining the opportunity to spend four weeks in NASA, Kennedy
Space Centre Florida for my medical elective. The study of Space
medicine has greatly increased my understanding of physiology.
It has also taught me about having to create novel approaches
to research, a skill that will help me in whatever field I enter
I believe that the British government should
invest in areas related to Space exploration. This would be advantageous
for the general population, the scientific community and British
1. Space exploration currently has its sights
set on Mars, primarily to look for signs of life. The importance
of the question "is there life on other planets?" cannot
1.1 One of the most fundamental questions
humankind can ask is what is the basis of life? If we are able
to find and to study life, which has originated from an environment
other than Earth, it may bring us closer to answering that fundamental
2. However, space exploration has many more
benefits than striving to answer scientific/philosophical questions.
Involvement in space related activities have more practical implications.
2.1 Space medicine offers a unique environment
in which to study human physiology and has resulted in a much
greater understanding of this subject. Our greater knowledge of
bone physiology, for example, has lead to novel interventions
for conditions such as osteoporosis, which will be of benefit
to millions of people.
2.2 These advances in research are also
applicable to technology, especially material science that has
massive commercial implications.
Currently, since Britain is not involved in
space activities it is unable to utilise any of these advances.
There is also increasingly commercial interest in space flight
and British government involvement would increase commercial investment
3. The knowledge itself is not the only
asset to be gained. British involvement in space activities will
give unique training to the personnel involved. This will enable
them to provide innovative approaches to their sciences.
3.1 Not least, space exploration inspires
enthusiasm and the imagination of the young, generating great
interest in the related sciences. This is particularly important
at a time when interest in subjects such as physics is at an all
time low. As a medical student, I found that studying space medicine
was an exciting experience that has inspired me to get involved