Guidelines proposed to govern human research in space

Implementing rules for commercial spaceflights will benefit humans in space and on Earth, according to an expert panel.

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A panel of bioethicists and spaceflight researchers, including UW Medicine neurologist Dr. Michael A. Williams, are calling for a set of rules to guide the ethical conduct of human space health research as the horizons of spaceflight expand. Their commentary, titled “Ethically cleared to launch?” appears in the Sept. 28 issue of the journal Science. 

“We want to be sure wherever we are, whatever planet we're on, we're using the same research standards for ethics,” said Williams. “We want standards that are applicable to everybody who's participating in the research and that the research is going to benefit everybody, both in commercial spaceflight and national spaceflight. And by having larger numbers of research subjects, we have a better opportunity to get good results and to see something that may bring benefit to people on Earth.” 

Read more about the commentary and Williams’ contributions in a news release

Download broadcast-ready soundbites on spaceflight research ethics. 

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