Innovation for health

Remote-controlled ARTIS ultrasound device used on a patient

Clever engineering is needed to keep human beings alive and comfortable in the hostile environment of space. Terrestrial healthcare is accordingly a prime target for technology transfer – although the space sector has more to offer than astronaut medicine alone. The high-performance nature of the systems and materials keeping satellites operational and the advanced sensors required to accomplish their tasks also translate well to the demanding healthcare business.

The potential is vast: the global healthcare industry has a value in the trillions of euros, comprising an average 10% of each nation’s Gross Domestic Product. Space in particular has been a long-term driver of ‘telemedicine’, the provision of expert medical care from a distance. Crews aboard the International Space Station can at least return to Earth in the event of a major medical emergency. Future manned missions into the Solar System will not be able to make any immediate return and must be even more self-reliant.

Last update: 13 November 2012

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