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January 26, 1990

Space Physiology and Medicine

JAMA. 1990;263(4):591-593. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440040138048

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At the risk of sounding maudlin, upon reading a book on the past 30 years of space flight one cannot help but become somewhat reflective and nostalgic. Growing up in the 1960s, when the United States achieved its goal of putting a man on the moon, it was assumed, by me at least, that permanent human habitation would exist on the moon and in earth orbit by the 1990s. As the 1980s draw to a close, outer space has turned out to be not only the final frontier but a difficult, slow, often tedious and controversial challenge that will engage generations to come.

The enormity and complexity of any space undertaking, not to mention its cost, are almost beyond description and test the patience of those who daily deal with more pedestrian but more immediate and medically more important issues of greater concern to mankind such as the acquired immunodeficiency