Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Meet NASA's Real-Life Dr. McCoy


He may not be zooming through space at warp speed on the Starship Enterprise, but astronaut Michael Barratt is the closest thing to a real-life Dr. McCoy aboard the International Space Station.

The doctor-turned-astronaut is spending more than half a year living 220 miles (354 km) above Earth as the space station's chief medical officer

I know this is coming out because of the new Star Trek movie, but I think it's a neat story. I like a lot and use it for our radio show. I just love how everything science fiction becomes reality in one shape or form. Besides, he sounds like a smart accomplished man.

Barratt should be ready. He literally helped write the textbook on spaceflight medicine - "Principles of Clinical Medicine for Space Flight" - and is the associate editor for space medicine for the journal Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine.

A veteran of mountaineer and diver, Barratt spent nine years as a ground-based NASA medical officer and flight surgeon before deciding he wanted to experience the effects of spaceflight for himself. Space medicine, after all, includes the effects of high altitude and pressure on the human body, he added.

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