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September 30 2012
DRAINING an infected abscess on Earth is a straightforward procedure. On a spaceship travelling to the moon or Mars, it could kill everyone on board.
Blood and bodily fluids cannot be contained in zero gravity, which means there is currently no way to perform surgery in space without contaminating the cabin. This makes an extended stay problematic, says James Antaki at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
"Based on statistical probability, there is a high likelihood of trauma or a medical emergency on a deep space mission," he says.
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