CINCINNATI—Instead of “blasting off,” Timothy Broderick, MD, will “splash down” to test new concepts in space medicine and lunar exploration.
Dr. Broderick, medical director for the University of Cincinnati’s (UC) Center for Surgical Innovation (CSI), is part of the ninth—and longest—of the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO). He and a team of three NASA astronauts head undersea today (Monday, April 3) on an 18-day undersea research and training mission in the Aquarius research station off the Florida Keys.
“We need to figure out better ways to care for astronauts before we make the long trip to Mars,” said Dr. Broderick. “Telemedicine and robotic surgery could be the key to maintaining the health of future spacefarers and responding to medical emergencies in space.”
The NEEMO-9 mission will demonstrate and evaluate surgical technologies that can be used in long-range space voyages. During the mission, a surgeon in Canada will use two-way telecommunication and a surgical robot to perform real-time abdominal surgery on a patient simulator in Aquarius.
On April 10, nearly 300 local children—grades 4 through 6—will talk directly to Dr. Broderick and the NASA team about how doctors will eventually treat sick or injured astronauts when they are millions of miles away from the hospital.
Attendees will hear what it’s like to live and work undersea. The children will have the opportunity to ask questions during a virtual tour of the scientists’ tiny living space.
“When I was a child, I saw an astronaut on TV walking on the moon and decided that I’d become an astronaut,” says Dr. Broderick. “Whether an astronaut or a surgeon, the important thing is to get hooked on science early.
“Education is a big part of this mission,” he continues. “By exposing kids to ‘cool’ real-life examples of scienceand technology like NEEMO, we hope to spark their interest in science, math and engineering.”
The youth-focused event takes place Monday, April 10, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Cincinnati Museum Center.
Adults are encouraged to attend a similar—but more technically sophisticated—program that evening from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dr. Broderick and other members of the CSI team will talk about the NEEMO-9 mission goals and other innovative CSI research projects and collaborations.
Both events take place in the Cincinnati Museum Center’s Reakirt Auditorium, 1301 Western Ave. To reserve a space, contact Amy Molleran, at (513) 287-7074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
UC’s Center for Surgical Innovation focuses on developing, assessing and disseminating new technologies in biomedical and surgical care. The center links the interdisciplinary expertise of UC’s colleges of medicine and engineering and their government, military and industry partners with the latest findings in surgical robotics, medical simulation, telecommunications and medical informatics.
A pre-mission NEEMO-9 video is available at http://surgery.uc.edu/csi.