Part of the show Science Question and Answer - New Horizons Mission
Doctors lead by Frances Chief Surgeon Dominique Martin have become the first ever to perform surgery on a human in zero-g. The European Space Agency-backed experiment aimed to prove that zero-g surgery was possible in advance of preparing for long duration space missions. The operation took place on board a specially modified Airbus 300 plane that simulates weightlessness by rising and diving at just the right speeds so that the people onboard are actually in freefall within the plane. This is the same effect that causes your stomach to somersault when you go over a hump-back bridge and is the same technique used to film the Apollo 13 movie. The operation was to remove a benign tumour from a patient's arm and was a complete success. This surgery was chosen because it was relatively simple and would not involve too much bleeding. The operation was also easy to halt in case of problems. The next aim for the program is to test robotic 'surgeons' that would be remote controlled from the ground. If technology like this was fully developed it would allow a surgeon on Earth to perform emergency surgery on an astronaut on the space station or a future Moon base.
'FACE' ON MARS A FIGMENT OF IMAGINATION