So, the other day I listened to a presentation from the FISO (Future In-Space Operations) working group. They have regular online telecons which anyone can listen to and follow along after the fact on their web archive:
It was titled “Preparing to Survive: The Case for Disabled Astronauts and Colonists”
I highly recommend this one as it’s off the beaten path, out of the box, and has some very interesting things I hadn’t considered before.
One of the most fascinating things I learned is:
Some deaf people are complete immune from dizziness from (for example) short-arm centrifuges. That certainly makes artificial gravity easier. Trivial, even.
Another was a more philosophical point. We’re going to bring our humanity with us. We can’t rely on the fighter jock physique. Even if we start that way, injuries can easily happen along the way, so we better be thinking about designing our spaceships and habitats with accessibility in mind. And maybe.. Just maybe… if everyone is blinded from long-duration exposure to microgravity or from smoke or some chemical accident, it might help to have someone on board not reliant on sight. Or at least you should have a spaceship that is still usable without relying on perfect sight. Or if everyone is disoriented on landing on Mars from months in microgravity, having someone immune to dizziness to guide you might also prove useful.
Very thought-provoking talk. I recommend it.