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Gary Hudson, Tuesday, 5-29-12 May 30, 2012

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Gary Hudson, Tuesday, 5-29-12


Guest:  Gary Hudson.  Topic:  Variable gravity research station as a free flyer near the ISS.  You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.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.  We welcomed back Gary Hudson, President of the Space Studies Institute, to discuss the Space Studies Institute variable gravity research station program known as G-Lab.  You can read about G-Lab at http://ssi.org/2012/04/ssi-update-april-2012-introduction-to-g-lab.  To find out more about The Space Studies Institute, please visit http://ssi.org.  In our first segment, Gary Hudson provided us with an overview of the data points we have on the effect of microgravity on the human body dating back from the beginning of the space age.  If the goal is the permanent human expansion and settlement in space, we have very few if any data points, yet we need this information if we are to expand beyond short trips to the ISS or another turnaround lunar mission.  In terms of artificial gravity, we don’t know what levels humans require other than we know we are designed for 1 G.  As Gary pointed out several times during our discussion, the permanent settlement in space implies families, child birth, and the things that we do here on Earth but we are lacking any meaningful and relevant information to make this possible  The G-Lab concept is to be able to do long term properly designed centrifuge research in free flying labs around the ISS, doing animal studies in lunar, possibly Martian, and Earth gravity. The experiments would be long term, properly designed by researchers with NASA as well as other institutions.  Financing the project would be in segments and phases and involve the private sector & the public sector.  Mr. Hudson described five phases with the first three phases being privately funded while the last two a combination of public/private funding.  The Falcon Heavy is a possible launch vehicle but so are other launchers.

In our second segment, we started off with a listener question about a Space Review article suggestion the Dragon be used for microgravity experiments in support of a human Mars Mission.  You can read the article by Tom Hill at www.thespacereview.com/article/2089/1.  Gary commented on this but remained focused on their project supporting permanent settlement in space, not just a trip to Mars.  This is an important distinction so do listen to how Gary explains this difference.  Other listeners asked Gary questions based on other Space Show programs/guests dealing with genetic modification and the need to work with gravity here on Earth as we age.  Listeners suggested simpler experiments.  One person suggested using insects but Gary made it clear that animals with a backbone were essential for these studies.  As the segment was drawing to a close, Gary mentioned a few of the challenges other than funding including power, life support, human crew needs, keeping the lab animals healthy, and being able to carry out all the needed experiments.  We talked about funding and Gary mentioned philanthropic naming opportunities for the centrifuge labs just as donors name buildings at hospitals and universities here on Earth.  If you have comments/questions for Gary Hudson, please post them on the Space Show blog.

If you want to get in touch with Gary specifically for this project, you can e-mail him through their website by using the About tab, then selecting Officers and Board.