I have to confess that, back in the early days of grad school when I fell in love with epidemiology, I had a bit of geeky wistfulness about not choosing space science. But I was really committed to going the route of studying diseases, and since there are no populations suffering disease in space (anyone beg to differ?) I made my choice and lived happily ever after. Today’s rising epidemiologists, however, could probably find a way to combine space science and epidemiology. The most major case in point: NASA has a series of projects using space technology for public health applications, mostly for monitoring environmental conditions on earth and predicting upswings in vector-borne illnesses.
Check out some of the projects at the following links:
NASA Applied Science Application Areas: http://appliedsciences.nasa.gov/ApplicationAreas-PublicHealth.php
- Presentation summarizing projects and goals - http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20100001752_2010001501.pdf
- Brochure on malaria – http://appliedsciences.nasa.gov/pdf/Project1P/08-Malaria.pdf
- Brochure on encephalitis - http://appliedsciences.nasa.gov/pdf/Project1P/03-Encephalitis.pdf
NASA Center for Health Applications of Aerospace Related Technologies (CHAART): http://geo.arc.nasa.gov/sge/health/chaart.html
Public Health Applications in Remote Sensing (PHAiRS): http://phairs.unm.edu/