Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Shooting for the moon

What's cooler than practicing moonwalks on the bottom of the sea?

Also doing a surgical procedure. On the bottom of the sea. When the doctor is in Canada.

From Tariq Malik at

One of the key goals for the NEEMO 9 crew included the assembly and operation of a surgical robot designed to allow physicians to dress wounds remotely with only an Internet link-up between them.

Canadian doctor Mehran Anvari, a veteran of telemedicine experiments with past NEEMO crews, directed the robot to suture a gash inside Aquarius. But instead of working aboard Aquarius, or even aboard a surface ship, Anvari sat at a workstation in the Canadian city of Hamilton, Ontario, where he directs the Center for Minimal Access Surgery at McMaster University.

Long-term moon missions would be safer if astronauts could receive the best health care possible without having to send a range of specialists to take care of any eventuality. The work aboard NEEMO 9 paves the way for surgery on the moon that is performed by doctors on Earth -- which (do I have to say it?) is extremely cool.

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