According to the report of the Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, U.S. Senate, the advent of space exploration in late 1957 and initiation of NASA’s Project Mercury had "brought human problems associated with space exploration into sharp focus and thereby helped to delineate broad requirements for future activities in this area."7
Moreover, in interpreting the policy set forth in the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, which states that "activities in space should be devoted to peaceful purposes for the benefit of all mankind," NASA had concluded that it had a twofold goal regarding the space-related aspects of biology, medicine, and psychology. The first was concerned with manned space flight and exploration, "necessitating provision of the essentials for survival in the space environment and the means which will allow effective human performance in flight and as scientific observer. The second goal was to apply the results of studies in space environment toward further understanding of the fundamental laws of nature as they apply to biology and medicine. It was noted that the long leadtime required for necessary advances in biotechnology required continuing effort iii a number of problem areas, "including man-machine integration, definition of tolerance to combined stresses, development of life support systems, radiation shielding, and provision of adequate escape and protective devices."8
Project Mercury, the report explained, was planned and was now being
executed "as the first in a number, of steps" toward manned space flight
6. This topic has not yet been treated in detail in a formal monograph.
7. Space Research in the Life Sciences: An Inventory of Related Programs, Resources, and Facilities, report of the Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences. U.S. Senate (56th Cong., 2d sess.), July15, 1960, p. 25.
9. Ibid., p. 26.