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Dr. Paul Davies, Monday, 9-16-13 September 16, 2013

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Dr. Paul Davies, Monday, 9-16-13

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2087-BWB-2013-09-16.mp3

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Guest:  Dr. Paul Davies.  Topics:  Interstellar travel, microbiology, cosmology, Mars, and much 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.

We welcomed Dr. Paul Davies to this 65 minute discussion about his contribution to the excellent book, “Starship Century: Toward the Grandest Horizon.” Other topics included interstellar travel, microbiology, human spaceflight, Mars, ET and much more.  We started our discussion with his Afterword in the “Starship Century” book and I asked him about his comments regarding microbes.  One quickly learns from reading his Afterword that it is not the propulsion and engineering that presents the greatest challenge to interstellar travel but what happens to essential microbes needed for life in microgravity and the space environment.  We learned that even in LEO such microbes can transform and become toxic to life.  This is a fascinating microbiology discussion regarding deep space missions to Mars, the Moon, and long interstellar travel. Don’t miss what Dr. Davies said about microbes as it opens up an entirely new study in human factors for human spaceflight.  Other issues we talked about included planetary contamination, microbial ecosystems, figuring out the minimal needed for sustainability regarding the good microbial environment.  Also, what microbes are crucial and those that might be irrelevant for the spaceflight passengers as well as for animals and plants needed for sustaining the mission.  Dr. Davies was asked that given microbiology being a bigger challenge than propulsion and engineering, were we close to having propulsion and engineering for interstellar travel.  You will appreciate his very “witty” answer to this listener’s question.  Faster than light travel came up and so did the work being done around the Alcubierre Drive.  Dr. Davies had much to say about faster than light travel, the speed of light, physics, and related disciplines.  In this discussion, we also talked about both black holes and worm holes.  Later, we talked about the possibility of life in the solar system other than on Earth.  You might be surprised by some of what Dr. Davies said, including the probabilities that Earth might have been visited over 100 million years ago.  Don’t jump to conclusions, listen to the discussion first.  Helen of Atlanta asked why bother with interstellar travel when we can’t even return to the Moon. Again, another terrific response by our guest.  More came up on the Fermi Paradox, the need to stay grounded in fundamental science but to have a vision and healthy skepticism.  Viking and Gil Levin came up regarding the possibility of life on Mars and the reluctance of NASA to do biological experiments regarding the possibility of life on Mars.  A listener asked our guest about ET conspiracy theories and government cover-ups.  In closing, Dr. Davies reminded us to have and conduct healthy speculation which means always staying in tune with fundamental science.  That is what separates speculation from fantasy, Kool Aid, and La La thinking.  As the program was ending, we talked some about his work in cancer research. Make sure you visit his website, http://cosmos.asu.edu.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  You can reach Dr. Davies through his website or me.

Drs. Adrian LeBlanc, Thomas Lang & John Jurist, Sunday, 5-6-12 May 6, 2012

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Drs. Adrian LeBlanc, Thomas Lang & John Jurist, Sunday, 5-6-12

NASA Bone Loss & Bisphosphonate Study

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1769-BWB-2012-05-06.mp3

Guests:  CLASSROOM:  Dr. Adrian LeBlanc, Dr. Tom Lang, Dr. John Jurist.  Topics:  Bone loss issues for human spaceflight & the use of bisphosphonates for mitigation.  You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com and The Space Show Classroom blog, http://spaceshowclassroom.wordpress.com.  Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright.  In addition, at the end of this summary, you will find links to relevant papers for our discussion as provided us by Dr. Lang.  We welcomed Dr. Adrian LeBlanc, Dr. Tom Lang and Dr. John Jurist as co-host to discuss the NASA bisphosphonate and bone loss study in progress.  Dr. LeBlanc along with his associate in Japan, Dr. Toshio Matsumoto, are leading this study and Dr. Lang is part of the team.  We started our discussion with Dr. LeBlanc providing us with a brief historical overview of bone loss issues of concern to NASA since the early days of the space program.  We talked about Skylab, Mir, the use of the DEXA scan, the use of quantitative computer tomography (QTC) and CT scans through to the ISS, Space Shuttle, and current research projects.  Our discussion was technical at times so if you need to look up or Google a technical term, please do so. In addition, we had some audio issues with the phone line used by Dr. LeBlanc as he faded in and out from time to time.  We apologize for any inconvenience this might have caused.  The first segment went through the bone loss issues, problems, consequences, & the methodologies involved in analyzing the conditions encountered by the astronauts participating in these studies.  Issues we discussed included the use of prescription drugs in space, long term use of bisphosphonates, risk factors for spontaneous hip fractures, exercise programs, bone strength, bone mass, the impact of radiation, skeletal recovery back on Earth after spaceflight to something different than before the spaceflight took place as well as the implications for astronauts as they age.  We talked about using artificial gravity to mitigate bone loss.  You might be surprised to learn that using partial gravity may not help matters.  Bisphosphonates do seem to help and will possibly play a role with exercise as we move to long duration spaceflight but we are in the very early stages of fact finding on these issues.  We also discussed informed consent with the astronauts regarding their participation in these and other experiments.

In the second segment, a listener asked about the relevance of this type of space research to the taxpayer who funds it and to the general population.  Our three guests responded to this question, explaining why the research is relevant and important. Don’t miss their answers.  We then talked about following the astronauts here on Earth to see the continued impact of having been in space on their bones as they age.  We learned that bone changes after being in space for four weeks or more and it is important to follow these changes as part of the aging process.  Our guests talked about calcium excretion issues in space and the risk this causes for a renal stones.  Bisphosphonates may inhibit calcium excretion which would help mitigate this risk.  Near the end of our discussion, we learned about new medications being developed that are more advanced than the bisphosphonates we have today.  We also talked about the competition with astronauts for different scientific experiments.  As Dr. Jurist pointed out, we really do need lots more human spaceflight!  At the end a listener asked about bed rest studies and our guests provided us with the basics.  If you are interested, visit https://bedreststudy.jsc.nasa.gov.  Our guests made important closing comments and take away points.

Please post comments/questions on The Space Show and Classroom blogs.

Dr. Lang provided us with these links that will be of interest to us all.  These documents can be accessed without a subscription to the journals. These papers provide some background to the problem of bone loss in spaceflight, the recovery of bone after spaceflight and use of CT and the use of CT-based finite element modeling to assess bone loss.

Cortical and Trabecular Bone Mineral Loss From the Spine and Hip in Long-Duration Spaceflight http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1359/JBMR.040307/full

Adaptation of the Proximal Femur to Skeletal Reloading After Long-Duration Spaceflight http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1359/jbmr.060509/full

Reduction in proximal femoral strength due to long-duration spaceflight http://scholar.google.com/citations?view_op=view_citation&hl=en&user=0zFSO9sAAAAJ&cstart=20&citation_for_view=0zFSO9sAAAAJ:4DMP91E08xMC

Click on link on right “[PDF] from http://cof.org.cn ” for free pdf copy of the report.