Bones won't be going with you to Mars

Bones, for those of you under 50, was the nickname given the late DeForrest Kelley's character, Dr. Leonard McCoy on the old Star Trek series in the 1960s.

DeForrest Kelley from Star TrekBones, for those of you under 50, was the nickname given the late DeForrest Kelley's character, Dr. Leonard McCoy on the old Star Trek series in the 1960s. (I hadn't known Kelley was born in Atlanta.)

Anyway the big news is that when we finally get to space, probably after I retire, we probably won't be taking a doctor along with us. Instead, we'll have a robotic surgeon.

NASA recently tested such a surgical theater on a C-9, one of those planes whose parabolic flight plans simulate zero gravity. (The same thing Stephen Hawking went up in.) While in weightlessness surgeons on the ground directed an SRI M-7 robot to do simple incisions on some test skin.

The idea is that instead of sending a medical crewman on a Mars mission you just stow 20 pounds of robot, some supplies and do it all remotely.

I know, who's going to crack those snappy one-liners at the science officer? Apparently in real life that wouldn't be logical.

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