Bioethics in Space Exploration

Living reference work entry

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The term “research” refers to a class of activities designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge. The fact that NASA was conducting and planning future human research required that it develop an institutional review board (IRB). Formal bioethics policies and procedures started with the establishment of the Johnson Space Center (JSC) IRB, which was known as the Human Research Policy and Procedures Committee (HRPPC). It was developed in response to NASA NMI 7100.8 in 1972 (DHHS 1974). The Belmont Report (1979) required updates to NMI 7100.8. This chapter traces the evolution of NASA’s human research guidelines through the International Space Station. Finally, some considerations of exploration class missions are discussed.


  1. Department of Health and Human Services (1974) Code of federal regulations—title 45 (part 46) protection of human subjectsGoogle Scholar
  2. Institute of Medicine (2001) Safe passage, astronaut care for exploration missions. National Academy Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  3. JSC Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects Guidelines for Investigators Proposing Human Research for Space Flight and Related Investigations (2004) JSC 20483, Revision CGoogle Scholar
  4. Levine RJ (1986) Ethics and regulation of clinical research. Yale University Press, New Haven/LondonGoogle Scholar
  5. National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine (2015) On being a scientist. A guide to responsible conduct in research. National Academy Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NASA Johnson Space CenterRound RockUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Michael W. Bungo
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of Texas Health Science CenterHoustonUSA

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