Space travel has to be the most exciting and brave adventure any human being can embark on. But what happens if you become injured or ill to the point of needing emergency surgery while out in space? It's good to know that NASA has been making steady improvements in the area of surgery in space.
More than a year ago, surgeons performed surgery on a live patient aboard an A3000 aircraft. Fast forward to 2008 and we now have a robot capable of performing surgery in zero gravity conditions with centrifugal speeds in excess of 1.8 g's.
A series of tests have been performed by SRI International and the University of Cincinnati while aboard a DC-9 aircraft.
A robot was able to make incisions and apply sutures on simulated human tissue, while an actual human surgeon did the same. According to PM Advisory Board member Dr. Ken Kamler, who participated in one of the flight tests, the robot did well until the "compensation software" was turned off. The difference was huge," Kamler says. "It was virtually impossible [for it] to tie a knot." But with compensation engaged, the bot performed as well as it did on Earth.
This is a follow-up to an original trend posted by Jeremy Gutsche way back in September 26, 2006 entitled: Surgery in Space / Zero Gravity Surgery in which surgeons performed an operation aboard an A3000 aircraft under zero gravity conditions.