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April 1970

Man on the South Polar Plateau: Introduction

Author Affiliations

Oklahoma City

From the Veterans Administration Hospital, Oklahoma City.

Arch Intern Med. 1970;125(4):625-629. doi:10.1001/archinte.1970.00310040049003

Giant leaps, such as the celebrated ones of Apollo 11 and of Christopher Columbus, have a way of leap-frogging a multitude of partially resolved and even unrecognized problems in the biomedical sphere which, further experience demonstrates, may hold the seeds of damage or disaster for later explorers. Scurvy was one such hazard for Columbus, only much later identified and eliminated as a serious threat to health of sailors or explorers forced to subsist long periods on diets deficient in natural vitamin C. Berry, in a recent report,1 summarizes the halting steps of space biomedicine to Apollo 11, and states flatly that, since "man is not inherently qualified for space missions," then "more sophisticated physiological and behavioral studies are now required to qualify man for continued space flight." A similar but less crucial situation, in many ways, also exists for man in Antarctica. All men (and women), including those who