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Robert Walker, Friday, 10-4-13 October 4, 2013

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Robert Walker, Friday, 10-4-13


 Your Amazon Purchases Can Help Support The Space Show/OGLF (www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm)

Guest:  Robert Walker.  Topics:  Humans to Mars and other destinations in the solar system.  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 Robert Walker to the program for a 1 hour 28 minute discussion about his analysis, conclusions, and thoughts regarding humans putting colonies on Mars and elsewhere in the solar system.  You can read his articles at www.science20.com/robertinventor.  Robert has a YouTube channel at www.youtube/marsandspace.  I urge listeners to read his articles as they are thought provoking.  Though you might not agree with his conclusions, keep an open mind, his articles are very informative and what he has to say should be part of our human spaceflight to Mars discussion.  In other words, don’t dismiss or blow off what Robert and others are saying about the issues he brought to our attention today.  We started the discussion with his August 14th op-ed, “Ten Reasons Not To Live On Mars – Great Place to Explore.”  Rather than going through each of the ten items, for purposes of this summary and our discussion, we will talk about planetary protection and making sure humans do not contaminate any part of Mars for scientific exploration.  Robert referenced the UN as well as NASA and other nation’s Planetary Protection Policy against human contamination on Mars and the provisions in the Outer Space Treaty that impose this obligation on all signing countries.  Planetary Protection has been discussed before on several Space Show programs but Robert talked about it in the context of why humans to Mars missions will not be allowed and should not be undertaken.  He is much more supportive of orbiting missions such as Inspiration Mars or even going to Phobos and Deimos.  Most of our first segment is about this subject.  We also talked about sample return missions using the ISS or the Moon, exoplanets, lunar settlement, asteroid resources, and space exploration in general.

In the second segment, I opened asking him about his short article on the true color of a specifically discovered exoplanet which was cobalt blue as a result of a continuous rain of liquid glass.  Robert got several listener emails about planetary protection, Elon Musk and his plans to settle Mars, ways to avoid contamination, and more.  He even got a question or two asking why in the literature ETs that have come to other in the stories (maybe), etc. don’t seem to have a regard for avoiding contaminating Earth.  This was a fun discussion. Another listener asked him a question about his musical and math background and using music to communicate with ET in sci fi movies, wondering if there was any science in fact to the idea of musical communication.  Another fun discussion.  Jody asked about going to a dry part of Mars with humans to avoid contamination.  Don’t miss Robert’s reply to this scenario.  Robert also spoke about teleportation, saying it was key to space exploration.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog.  You can email Robert Walker at support@robertinventor.com.  His website is www.robertinventor.com.

Dr. John Jurist, Tuesday, 3-27-12 March 27, 2012

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Dr. John Jurist, Tuesday, 3-27-12


Part 1, Bisphosphonate Usage in Microgravity

Guest:  Dr. John Jurist.  Topics:  This is the first in a series of programs focused on the use of bisphosphonates to mitigate bone loss in long duration spaceflight.  You are invited to comment, ask questions, & discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, & any discussion must be relevant & 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.  We welcomed back Dr. John Jurist for the first of several programs devoted to understanding bone loss in microgravity & the use of prescription the bisphosphonate family of drugs to mitigate the problem.  Dr. Jurist provided talking points which you can find below this summary on The Space Show blog.  A significant portion of the second segment is devoted to understanding these talking points so follow along.  We started our discussion with an explanation of the bone loss problem facing those in microgravity.  Following this brief overview, Dr. Jurist told us about bisphosphonates, the origins of this drug, how it was developed, how its usage, what some of the side effects are, some of the trials that have been associated with the drug, & space/NASA studies.  Later in this nearly hour long segment, we talked about the human population & what happens to our bone mass at various stages in our life. We talked about gender, racial, & ethnic differences in human bone mass issues.  As you will hear, there are gender & other differences among our diverse population.  This led us to asking about using targeted genetics in selecting crews for longer spaceflight missions.  Genetic modification was mentioned, especially for the long term, but for the near term, looking for better exercise routines & pharmaceutical modification/treatment seem to hold the most promise.  Dr. Jurist then talked about bisphosphonate side effects.  Fast transit time to Mars or a long duration mission destination came up. As you will hear, even if you get to Mars faster, you still have the problem on the surface of Mars.  The big problem is we have no credible information on what the gravity prescription for humans needs to be so we do not know if Martian gravity is sufficient to mitigate the problem.  Next, we focused on the need for an orbiting centrifuge, we talked about the size & spin rate of the centrifuge, & what to actually test for in experiments.  Dr. Jurist suggested that starting with 1/6th lunar gravity made sense because if it was sufficient, we would know that anything stronger than 1/6th would work.  If not, we should probably next experiment with Martian gravity which is about 1/3rd Earth gravity.

In our second segment, Dr. Jurist referred to his talking points which you will find on The Space Show blog. We went line by line so follow along with us.  Despite interruptions, John stayed on topic with the talking points.  Listener questions asked about how gravity & having a load on bones works & what happens in space when that load is no longer present.  We talked about the time prescription as well as the load factor (G force).  Toward the end, John told us about a reviewed radiation article from 2010 showing that radiation impacted bone loss so the issue in space is more complex than just microgravity.  Near the end, John got a question asking about ETs & their thin, pencil like shape making them perfectly designed for microgravity.  This was both an interesting & fun discussion, bordering on science fiction.  Another question asked about fish, reptilian, sea mammal, & bird bones.  Our final topic dealt with the release of personal astronaut medical information & others & the ways for private information to be legally released to the public.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog URL above.  Email for Dr. Jurist can be sent to me for forwarding.


Dr. John Jurist Bisphosphonate Talking Points:

Bisphosphonate show Tues 8:00-9:30 MDT Talking Points

Introduction:             Bone is incredibly complex with many inter-related factorsGoal:                          Brief outline of cellular, structural, and functional aspects of bone metabolism in order to help listeners better understand and appreciate the potential role of bisphosphonates (which is the subject of a future show)

Bone Function:          Two types of bone – compact and trabecular: Compact is outer shell, very dense, and fairly strong

Trabecular – also called spongy, contains spicules, plates, and struts of bone tissue with lots of vascular and fatty marrow, called trabecular

Remodeling:             Bone is constantly being turned over or remodeled with portions being torn down and constituents dumped into bloodstream and other portions being built up from nutrients supplied by blood

Very rapid bone loss can lead to kidney stone formation from calcium dumped into blood

Turnover rate and the volume of total skeleton undergoing remodeling at any given time tends to go down with increasing age (remember this – important)

Balance between formation and resorption (tearing down) also tends to be lost after about age 30, lack of activity, certain hormonal imbalances, diseases, etc. with resorption predominating – one rationale for estrogen replacement therapy after menopause

Coordination between formation and resorption partly controlled by mechanical strains on bone tissue (called Wolff’s Law and issue in microgravity) – some evidence that mechanism is electrical in nature – rationale for electric and electromagnetic bone growth stimulators used to treat problematic fractures and improve incorporation of bone grafts

Cells:                          Stem cells differentiate (or specialize) into osteoprogenitor cells which differentiate into osteoblasts which are the bone formers

Osteoblasts create and secrete a protein and polysaccharide matrix called osteoid which is then calcified later to form the stuff we call bone

Interference in that calcification leads to rickets in children and osteomalacia (Greek for soft bones) in adults

Osteomalacia is often a result of interference in Vitamin D metabolism or dietary deficiencies

During bone formation, some osteoblasts “paint” themselves into a corner and get surrounded by bone – they are then called osteocytes and somehow maintain bone tissue

If osteocytes die in a volume of bone, that devitalized bone no longer undergoes remodeling but can eventually be replaced by a process called creeping substitution (remember comment about remodeling volume going down with age)

Devitalized bone can accumulate fatigue defects and eventually suffer fatigue fractures (called stress fractures – common in military recruits and deconditioned people who recondition too rapidly) if the defects are not replaced by new bone during creeping substitution

Other cells, with multiple nuclei and called osteoclasts, differentiate from marrow cells (monocytes and macrophages) which in turn differentiate from stem cells

Osteoclasts are the bone resorbers and destroyers

Autoradiographic studies show that their nuclei also came from osteocytes as well – presumably as they are resorbed during bone destruction process

Osteoclasts are related to multinucleated “giant cells” which are associated with inflammation in ways I do not understand

Bisphosphonates:      Used over past 20-30 years in clinical medicine – brands include Actonel, Boniva, Fosamax, Aredia, etc.

Multiple mechanisms with different dose-response properties results in clinicians juggling doses and brands to get effects they want without effects they do not want

Bind to hydroxyapatite – the mineralized  portion of bone tissue (calcified osteoid)

Inhibit bone resorption by inhibiting osteoclastic activity

Inhibition of resorption signals osteoblasts to slow down formation rates after a delay (but increases their lifetimes (anti-apotosis)

Bisphosphonates also inhibit mineralization of osteoid – especially at higher doses

That eventually reduces turnover rate and can lead to fatigue fractures with prolonged treatment (remember to call 1-800-BAD-DRUG)

Orthopedic surgeon (Frost atHenryFordHospital) figured out that cyclic therapy exploits delay in osteoblast inhibition relative to osteoclast activity and results in better bone mass gains

Bisphosphonates used in oncology to preserve bone and reduce pathological fractures with osteolytic tumors such as breast and prostate cancers.  Also to counter hormonal blocking therapy used for prostate and breast cancers, but side effects increase with duration of treatment

Interesting sidelight with oncology is some evidence that bisphosphonates reduce risk of tumor metastasis to bone and other sites (somehow involving same signaling pathway as giant cells?)

Oral bisphosphonates cause stomach upset – advise staying upright for an hour or two after taking pill – how does this affect microgravity exposure?

Intravenous bisphosphonates get around oral gastric upset, but placing line or port has risks too (most oncology patients have ports during active treatment)

Also cause osteonecrosis – especially jaw which I believe is septic or infective – and atrial fibrillation (talk to Bill Rowe on this one since he is interested in heart physiology in space)

Bone quality:             Turnover rates and percent of skeleton not devitalized important factors in determining bone strength – measuring bone mass by DEXA or other means is not the be all and end all in evaluating bone strength and risk of fracture.

My Goal:                   General background on bone physiology and function to aid in appreciating upcoming show(s) on bisphosphonates in space medicine