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Dr. Duane Graveline, Friday, 1-25-13 January 24, 2013

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Dr. Duane Graveline, Friday, 1-25-13

Co-Host Heather Archuletta


Guests: Dr. Duane Graveline, Heather Archuletta.  Topics: Bed rest microgravity simulation studies. Dr. Graveline is the father of this research. Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com.  Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information.  We welcomed Dr. Duane Graveline to the program to discuss bed rest simulation microgravity studies, the early days of pioneering of his having pioneered this research, aerospace medicine and much more in our 1 hour 23 minute discussion. Dr. Graveline is the father of this research dating back to the late 1950s.  Please visit his website, www.spacedoc.com.  Heather Archuletta, the Pillownaut Astronaut, returned to co-host with me for this important discussion.  Check out Heather’s blog posts about Dr. Graveline and his work at http://pillownaut.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-bed-pilot-pioneer.html.  Dr. Graveline has allowed us to use two specific pictures referring to his pioneering work and both are on The Space Show blog per the above URL.  Picture 1 is Dr. Graveline’s water immersion tank and Picture 2 is the LBNP device. He discusses both of these in the program’s first segment.  Dr. Graveline started out with an overview of his early work, how he got into the field, his decision to join the Air Force and why this area of medicine interested him.  He explained his early bed rest tests and talked about the challenges with the test subjects. Heather and Dr. Graveline compared those early tests to those of today that Heather has participated in.  It was a fascinating compare and contrast, especially regarding the discipline of test subjects then and now. Dr. Graveline talked about water immersion, the aerospace lab he used, and his water immersion tank.  Don’t forget to check out the picture of it on the blog.  Dr. Graveline is looking through the window at the floating test subject.  Would you like to float as Dr. Graveline explained for one full week nonstop?  Throughout our discussion, Dr. Graveline told us many interesting and sometimes funny stories from his past like his visit to the Today Show and their wanting him to wear “flippers!”  Our guest described the low body negative pressure device (LBNP) which you can see in the second photo on the blog.  He talked about it, the old Soviet program, Mir and tilt table tests.  Dr. Graveline talked extensively about the Soviet program, how he was able to monitor much of their data, & he told us about Alexi Leonov when he had serious problems when caught outside his spaceship.  Many questions were asked about early animal studies, Laika, and more.  He told us how they were able to do blood pressure readings on dogs & the Soviets bragged about it since Dr. Graveline was able to figure out, copy, & improve the Soviet system.  Mice and centrifuge studies were discussed in some detail & Heather and Dr. Graveline had comprehensive discussions about exercise in the bed rest studies of today as compared to none in the early days of the studies. Dr. Graveline talked with Heather about his idea to abandon exercise in space so the astronauts could concentrate on their work, then return in a hydropod and rehab completely back on Earth for a few months.  You don’t want to miss this discussion or explanation from Dr. Graveline as to why this approach should be considered and tested by NASA.

     In the second segment, we talked about bone density issues and the applicability of space research and findings to terrestrial medical issues for people with this medical problem.  He was asked about a long duration HSF to Mars and he said the bigger problem was galactic radiation which he talked about in some detail.  He said that as of today, there are no mitigation tools for this problem.  The discussion went back and forth about water immersion and the use of the hydropod for returning astronauts & Heather talked about prohibitive costs & that immersion is not used today.  One of our UK listeners asked Dr. Graveline about his being part of Group 4 – The Scientists.  As this was the first astronaut group that was not composed of test pilots, our listener wanted to know about the selection process & getting more scientists to the Moon & on missions.  Dr. Graveline had much to say about this subject & shared with us some terrific & historical stories from the past.  He talked about Spacelab, astronaut Bill Pogue, & shared science stories with us.  During our program, Heather, with her bed rest study experience & her recruiting work (listen to her Space Show program on the studies she has recent completed at http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1926-BWB-2013-01-08.mp3 from Jan. 8, 2013), contributed greatly to the discussion and Dr. Graveline was equally interested in talking with her about the program today as compared to the program he started decades ago.  Dr. Graveline’s book, “From Laika With Love: Secret Soviet Gifts to Apollo,” is still available. If you order it from Amazon using this link, Amazon will make a contribution to The Space Show/OGLF:  http://www.amazon.com/From-Laika-With-Duane-Graveline/dp/1424338700/ref=onegiantlea20.  Dr. Graveline was also asked about the use of his research today and if young scientists & researchers interested in the field still study his early work.  He said yes and talked about how much easier it was to do that today due to the internet.

     If you have questions/ comments for Dr. Duane Graveline or Heather Archuletta, post them on The Space Show blog per the URL above.  If you want to email Dr. Graveline or Heather, you can do so through me.  You can also comment and contact Heather through her blog which is mentioned earlier in this summary.

Here are Dr. Graveline’s photos discussed above:

Graveline Immersion Tank

Graveline Immersion Tank


Graveline LBNP Device

Graveline LBNP Device



1. Joe from Houston - February 17, 2013

I work right next to the Neutral Bouyancy Lab in Houston. What a great idea to put Astronauts in there to regain their 1g control. Dr Graveline knows what he is talking about just like Albert Einstein knows what he talked about.

2. The Space Show - January 28, 2013

Doug, thanks for your comments. Your having wished for a question or two we did not ask reminds me to make the case to all listeners that we encourage and want advanced email questions about any and all programs if its not possible to hear the live show. Never ever rely on the question that is important to you being asked on your behalf unless you send it to me in advance of the show. Assuming the question to be in good taste, etc., I always ask advance email questions during the program in question. So for all listeners, if you can’t hear the live broadcast, please do send in your questions in advance otherwise they may not get asked as we all focus and think about different things and so far I have not mastered listener mind reading.

Thanks for listening and for your comments about this program. Remember, use email when you can’t hear the live broadcast.


3. Arch - January 28, 2013

Doug, after the broadcast was over, believe me, I was kicking myself for not asking about a hundred more questions! Not only about Mars, but about all different simulations… did he use a -6 degree tilt on bedrest as is done on modern sims, what did he think of the Mars500 isolation or sleep issues, and even once we conquer the physical issues, how do we deal with the mental ones? And so on. I really need to go visit this chap in Florida! 😉 Thank you very much for listening to all three of us. – Heather

4. Robert Tindale - January 28, 2013

I really enjoyed show 1936 with Dr. Duane Graveline and also Heather Archuletta. You will learn something. Great show.

5. DougSpace - January 27, 2013

This was a great program both from the scientific and the historical information presented.

I do wish that someone had asked a question about whether tethering and spinning while on the way to Mars would largely overcome the negative effects of weightlessness. I presume it would but it would have been nice to get the expert opinions.

If the Falcon Heavy prices remain as advertised, it would take about 10 launches and cost about $1.2 billion to lift the 500 tonnes of water shielding about about the same amount and number of launches to boost the propellant to send said water shielding into an Aldrin Cycler orbit so that the shielding could be used again and again. To me, $2.4 billion sounds reasonable for shielding for ongoing Mars missions.

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