On The Ground With Jim Locke, NASA Flight Surgeon

Nov 17, 2014

International Space Station
Credit NASA

The Rosetta mission - the first probe ever to land on the surface of a comet - had no people aboard.  

But if it had, and they were American, Jim Locke might have cleared them for duty. Doctor Locke is a NASA Flight Surgeon, which despite its name, does not involve conducting surgery while flying on a space ship.  But what it does involve is just about as interesting; making sure astronauts are healthy enough to perform their jobs in space.

"We have to evaluate," says Locke. "Are they going to develop sudden incapacitation, are they going to need some medical care that we can’t provide up there?  Is the mission itself going to adversely impact their health that it’s not going to be good for them to do it?"

Locke is a UWM graduate and spoke to us when he was back in Milwaukee visiting his alma mater last month.