Considerations For the Future of Space Health Data

Dylan Taylor
7 min readFeb 23, 2024

Despite considerable advancements in space exploration and technology, astronaut health remains a crucial and ever-changing variable in the equally dynamic space industry. Namely, high-level health data analysis sits at the center of emergent space research and protocol, allowing industry professionals to create a safer, more seamless experience for those venturing beyond Earth’s confines and driving the sector forward. Along the way, we have gained valuable insight into the mitigation of space-related afflictions and responses, sensorimotor adaptations, and other key factors illustrating space’s impact on the human body.

Now, thanks to ongoing technological and methodological breakthroughs, such findings stand to propel space health infrastructure to new heights.

Fundamentally, perhaps the most significant change on this front is the expansion of space-related private sector access. This shift has underscored the urgency of dependable, diverse biomedical data for astronauts, which allows for a more nuanced view of space health intricacies and a stronger emphasis on human well-being. Entities like Baylor’s Translational Research Institute for Space Health (TRISH) have worked to broaden these initiatives, leveraging data from commercial, private-sector astronauts to better inform space health research.

With such efforts as a backdrop, focus divides into a variety of rising tech-driven solutions — all of which yield helpful data for further innovation. For instance, advanced biomedical devices are revolutionizing on-site medical care for those in orbit — particularly those related to wound care, space-based surgery, and chemical analysis. Technologies like the University of Louisville’s Surgical Fluid Management System (SFMS) help control bleeding and facilitate safer surgical procedures in microgravity environments, utilizing a multifunctional device consolidating suction, irrigation, illumination, vision, and cautery tasks.

Prevailing molecular research holds similar potential for our understanding of astronauts at a deeper physiological level. A 2023 study, for instance, observed various molecular measurements to gauge astronaut health during spaceflight, revealing several adverse changes spurred by microgravity adaptation; these included bone resorption, kidney function, and immune system dysregulation — all of which presented subsequent health risks like osteoporosis, renal illness, and viral reactivation. In turn, researchers pinpointed preventative countermeasures such as enhanced food provisions, nutritional supplementation, and increased provision of immune disorder medications.

Data collection also expands to astronaut mental health, with deep space missions posing a high risk for emotional hardship due to their isolated, often harrowing nature. NASA has already confirmed that future deep space missions will require teams to “live and work in a confined environment the size of a studio apartment for up to two and a half years” — a considerable test of astronauts’ mental fortitude. To address this challenge, NASA notes the importance of behavioral health data, which stands to inform preemptive training and the development of resources — some AI-driven — capable of augmenting and maintaining astronaut mental well-being.

One 2023 study notes that, broadly speaking, aerospace health insights may even benefit health operations on Earth. Specifically, this study discusses how the space industry exemplifies wearable, noninvasive means of monitoring human diagnostics and early medical intervention. The study concludes: “Disruptive medical technologies, like those required to support extraplanetary human existence, have ​​an extensive array of potential applications across all terrestrial care delivery settings, for both patients and practitioners. Rapid and efficient clinical validation of these technologies and their integration into standard clinical workflow must be a priority and requires the involvement of clinicians to spearhead the charge.”

These findings and suggestions hold promising potential for the space industry’s ongoing expansion and innovation. By prioritizing the health and well-being of astronauts, the sector can become fully prepared to safely push exploratory boundaries both at home and beyond, bolstering an already vast and possibly life-changing body of research.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Originally published at https://www.newsweek.com on February 23, 2024.

Dylan Taylor at Davos 2024

About Dylan Taylor

Dylan Taylor is a global business leader, commercial astronaut, thought leader and philanthropist. Currently, Dylan serves as Chairman & CEO of Voyager Space, a multi-national space exploration firm focused on building the next generation of space infrastructure for NASA and other global space agencies.

Dylan has been recognized by Harvard University, SpaceNews, the BBC, the Financial Times, Pitchbook,CNBC, CNN and others as having played a seminal role in the growth of the private space industry. As an early-stage investor in more than 50 emerging space ventures, including Axiom, Kepler, York, Astrobotic, LeoLabs, Relativity, and Planet, Dylan is widely considered the most active private space investor in the world.

Dylan’s technical background, global business experience and unbridled passion for space make him a unique figure within his industry. As a thought leader and futurist, he has written many popular pieces on the future of the space industry for Forbes, FastCompany, Newsweek, SpaceNews, The Space Review, and Space.com. As a speaker, Dylan has keynoted many of the major space conferences around the world and has appeared regularly on Bloomberg, Fox Business, and CNBC.

Dylan has extensive global business experience as both a board director and CEO in several industries, including advanced electronics, finance and real estate. He previously served as a Director for UMB Bank, a Fortune 500 company based in Kansas City and as a mutual fund director for the Jackson Funds where he oversaw assets of $8B across 130 distinct funds. He has also served in the roles of CEO, President and Board Director for multinational companies like Prudential PLC, Honeywell, Colliers and Jones Lang LaSalle. Dylan was recognized as a Fortune 1000 CEO with P&L responsibility in excess of $3B and operations encompassing 15,000 employees in over 60 countries. In addition, Dylan has participated in 4 IPOs over the course of his career.

Dylan is a leading advocate of space manufacturing and the utilization of in-space resources to further space exploration and settlement. In 2017, he became the first private citizen to manufacture an item in space when the gravity meter he co-designed and commissioned was 3D printed on the International Space Station. The historic item is now housed in the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.

Dylan is an explorer of note. On December 11th, 2021 Dylan became just the 606th human to go to space as part of the crew of Blue Origin’s NewShepard Mission 19. Accordingly, Dylan earned his commercial astronaut wings with the FAA and his universal astronaut wings from the Association of Space Explorers.

He is also one of only a handful of humans to have descended to the deepest part of the world’s oceans, Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench as part of the Limiting Factor Expedition in July of 2022. In that mission, Dylan descended with pilot Victor Vescovo to a depth in excess of 10,800 meters (35,500 feet) into an area of the Mariana Trench that had never been visited by humans. Dylan is the youngest human to have been to the deepest part of the world’s oceans and crossed the Karman line into Space. Dylan has been a member of the Explorers Club since 2014.

Dylan maintains an extensive philanthropic impact on the space industry. In 2017, Dylan founded the nonprofit and social movement, Space for Humanity, which seeks to democratize space exploration and develop solutions to global issues through the scope of human awareness to help solve the world’s most intractable problems. Space for Humanity has successfully sent two citizen astronauts to space via Blue Origin including both the first Mexican-born woman (Katya Echazareta), and first African-born woman (Sara Sabry). Building upon his passion and support for the space industry, Dylan serves as a strategic advisor for both the Archmission and the Human Spaceflight Program and is a co-founding patron of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, which promotes the growth of commercial space activity. Additionally, he is also a leading benefactor to the Brooke Owens Fellowship, Patti Grace Smith Fellowship and Mission: Astro Access.

Dylan is the founder and Chairman of Multiverse Media, an integrated global media company focused on science and technology, with an emphasis on space. Multiverse is the parent company of the popular space philosophy website 2211.world as well as the Ad Astra Dinners, a Jeffersonian-style dinner series featuring some of the world’s leading influencers discussing the future of humanity in space. Another subsidiary of Multiverse Media, Multiverse Publishing, publishes books by leading authors including Frank White, Isaac Asimov and Gerard K. O’Neill. Multiverse is also the executive producer of the documentary film, The High Frontier and the forthcoming film, Fortitude.

For his influence as a global leader and his commitment to creating a positive impact on the world, Dylan has been honored with numerous personal and professional accolades in recent years. The World Economic Forum recognized Dylan as a Young Global Leader in 2011 and a full member of the World Economic Forum in 2014. That same year he was named a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute. In 2020, Dylan was recognized by the Commercial Spaceflight Federation with their top honor for business and finance, following in the footsteps of 2019’s inaugural winner, the late Paul Allen
and subsequent winners Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk.

Dylan Taylor earned an MBA in Finance and Strategy from the Booth School of Business at University of Chicago and holds a BS in Engineering from the honors college at the University of Arizona, where he graduated Tau Beta Pi and in 2018 was named Alumnus of the year. He is also a graduate of the Global Leadership and Public Policy for the 21st Century program at Harvard University.

Dylan and his family reside in Denver, Colorado where he is active locally with Colorado Concern and theColorado Spaceport. In his spare time, Dylan enjoys hiking, competing in triathlons and spending time outdoors. As a weekend warrior athlete, Dylan has more than 25 top ten finishes and 25 age group wins to his credit, and he regularly interviews world class athletes whom have shown extraordinary resilience as the host of the Legendary Podcast. He is married to legal expert, consultant and author Gabrielle V. Taylor with whom he has two teenage daughters.

--

--

Dylan Taylor

Dylan Taylor is a global business leader and philanthropist. He is an active pioneer in the space exploration industry