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Dr. Julie Robinson, ISS Chief Scientist, Friday, 7-31-15 August 1, 2015

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Dr. Julie Robinson, ISS Chief Scientist, Friday, 7-31-15


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Guest: Dr. Julie A. Robinson. Topics: ISS research, the ISS 1 year study, the Twins Study, ISS science and more. 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. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm. For those listening to archives using live365.com and rating the programs, please email me as to why you assign a specific rating to the show. This will help me bring better programming to the audience.

We welcomed Dr. Julie Robinson, ISS Chief Scientist, to the program. During our 71 minute discussion, Dr. Robinson provided us with an overview of science on the ISS, specifically identifying two goals: 1: Research for BLEO; 2: Developing LEO for long term space use and for benefiting life here on Earth. We discussed the logistics of science on the ISS, the ISS international partnership and how ISS resources are allocated to the partners for science as well as other projects. Our guest further broke this down between Russian and the U.S. and then said that for the U.S. segment, the U.S. has about a 76% usage allocation of ISS resources. We talked about the science done on the ISS, the mix with government and commercial projects, then we started talking about the 1 year study with the Russian cosmonaut and American astronaut while at the same time doing the Twin Study with astronaut Scott Kelly on the ISS with his brother Mark Kelly here on the ground. Dr. Robinson spent much of the balance of our interview time going into the specifics of these concurrent studies, the investigation categories for each study, and more. Our guest fielded questions about the length of time for the study being fixed at one year rather than being longer and objective oriented. As you will hear, ISS logistics, using the Soyuz as a lifeboat, and the overall ISS operations and other experiments going on all contribute to why a one year study was settled on rather than a long duration study or one based on achieving certain accomplishments or objectives. Dr. Robinson talked about the possibility of future studies given that they anticipate issues and information from this first study suggesting more refined studies to be undertaken in the future. Listeners emailed our guest several questions including asking her about the assumed low science productivity on the ISS, a statement Dr. Robinson refuted with evidence. BJohn also asked about low gravity issues. Later, in a follow up question, BJohn asked about a Phobos mission and doing human spaceflight mission simulations on the station. Don’t miss Dr. Robinson’s response to these questions. Dr. Bill Rowe called to talk to her about CO2 buildup, oxidative stress, EVAs, and possible magnesium deficiencies in astronauts while in space. We talked radiation issues, the OSHA rules for maxing out on radiation, and finding astronauts for the long mission that would not be disqualified due to the OSHA radiation rules. Vision problems, fluid shifts and other complications were discussed throughout our interview with Dr. Robinson. A listener commented that both participants in the 1 year study were men and wanted to know about gender differences which Dr. Robinson addressed. Another listener wanted to know about shared access of the information and if it would be made available to the commercial industry, the space tourism industry, even Mars One as an example. Later in the segment, Dr. Robinson went into much more detail regarding the investigation categories for both the 1 year and the Twin Study. When talking about fluid shifts, she was asked about differences in the Russian approach as compared to the American approach. One example that she provided us was the Russian use of their Chibis suit which sucks fluid back down to the legs. In making additional points in reference to space settlement questions, Dr. Robinson talked about comparisons with space to early oceanic exploration and said that people are not living at sea for their entire life even today. Don’t miss this discussion. Based on other questions, the human gravity RX was discussed along with the use and challenges regarding centrifuges in space, alternative propulsion to get to a destination much quicker, and the fact that even a low gravity body is better for people than no gravity. Again, don’t miss the discussion. We talked more about behavioral studies, Dr. Doug asked a series of three questions that took us through to the end of our program with other listeners asking questions in-between Doug’s. For example, cognitive issues came up as did timelines and influences to making rapid research progress including money and financing. As we were about to end, I did ask about genetic screening, experimentation, and modification. Don’t miss what our guest had to say about this and why. As we were ending, I inquired about research plans once the ISS was deorbited. Again, don’t miss the options that were discussed with us. Dr. Robinson left us with thoughtful concluding comments you will want to hear, plus she provided us with the social media contact information to follow ISS research on a regular basis.

Please post your comments/questions for this show on TSS blog above. You can reach Dr. Robinson at NASA or through me.



1. joe77062 - August 3, 2015

Dr Robinson mentioned that NASA’s preference for addressing bone loss is lowering the transit time to and from Mars instead of using existing propulsion technology and managing bone loss and radiation over exposure using existing means that has not been examined in space yet; i.e., long term committed short arm HUMAN centrifuges in which the head remains still and not allow to twist side-to-side and light-weight radiation absorption or refection material testing in orbit or on the ground. Ok you other countries and commercial space enterprises interested in the first human space exploration in 50 years beyond our current low earth orbit government-controlled habitat, the secret to success out there is out now.
Apparently, NASA is most interested in maintaining ISS status quo as opposed to devoting most of their time and energy to lab work. This is understandable since that is how things have evolved over time. To exist, NASA prefers, by default, maintaining safe ISS operations and foreign cooperation instead of competing with expensive non-reusable spacecraft reserved almost entirely for this purpose. Need proof? Simply look at the crew’s activity timeline schedule and NASA’s budget items going to the ISS. Practically everything they do and spend funding on is focused on coming and going to and from the ISS and maintaining it so they can keep coming and going to and from the ISS. NASA, justifiably, charges outrageous rates for the crew’s time to conduct experiments by justifying those rates with higher priority activities such as maintaining safe flight operations and coming and going to and from the ISS. I am sorry to say that those numbers tell a true story if you are willing to look at it from a different perspective than what NASA teaches us through their media campaigns. Unfortunately, you, the reader, likely has no control over what NASA chooses to do with their annual hard-fought-for funding.
NASA’s unhealthy addiction to Russian space hardware and their allegiance to the concept of international cooperation and devotion to conducting experiments helping people on the ground is a by-product of globalism and globalization. This is not going to change any time soon. As time goes on, however, we shall witness the increase in commercial space achievements including reusability and cheap reusable orbiting habitats.
I recommend we send up inexpensive light weight reusable habitats with two crew on existing competitive rockets. They inflate it when they get there, then bring back experiment findings when done. There are no expensive and time consuming resupply missions using non-reusable rockets. The fact is that a reusable space habitat is a small fraction of the cost of a non-reusable unmanned rocket and an infinitesimal fraction of the cost of a non-reusable manned rocket. The experiment equipment is improved and updated to the latest technology on a flight-by-flight basis. The experiment results rapidly advance the solutions to barriers to human exploration beyond low earth orbit. When we see these results we will abandon the need to find solutions that help people we left behind on the ground. We find solutions that help us continue exploring beyond our realm of reality. The habitat is turned into a tourist destination after the government sponsored laboratory mission and operated for profit by non-government entities and at higher risk until deorbited into the ocean. The process repeats. There is no old heavy habitat made out of the wrong materials (we now know aluminum is bad in space) with aging problems (panel joints wearing out, cooling systems leak) requiring constant insatiable maintenance and international cooperation in which nothing of real value to humans seeking to explore beyond earth orbit coming out of the whole wad of cash poured into it.

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