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Dr. Rick Linnehan, Friday, 8-22-14 August 23, 2014

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Dr. Rick Linnehan, Friday, 8-22-14


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Guest:  Dr. Rick Linnehan, NASA Astronaut; Topics:  Animals in space, human long duration spaceflight.  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 http://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 NASA Astronaut Dr. Rick Linnehan to the program to discuss animals and their place in space in history, the present, and the future, plus human concerns for long duration spaceflight.  During this one hour program, we stared off by asking Dr. Linnehan for an overview of the role played by animals in space, including looking to the future for animals for agriculture, research pathology work, comfort, & other purposes.  We talked about microgravity issues and countermeasures, then I asked specifically about taking chickens to Mars for feed purposes.  Our guest talked about the effect of microgravity on chickens and the egg laying process.  He said a few times that while we might likely evolve over many years, decades or even longer to having a larger role for animals in space, most of the ideas and concepts today are pie in the sky.  We talked about some of the animals that had been and are in space including lab rodents, fruit flies, some small fish and others.  Our guest talked about the space acclimation process for animals, including the small fish, and we learned that in many instances the animals acclimate to microgravity faster than humans.  Our guest mentioned the need for advanced propulsion for long duration human spaceflight and suggested that Mars was on the edge of the possible using chemical rockets.  Rick mentioned some of the other human factors issues such as radiation and psychological challenges.  We also discussed astronaut exercise routines and the countermeasure exercise equipment currently being used with efforts underway to redesign the equipment to be more effective and lighter.  Several questions came up about private sector humans to Mars missions and crew health.  When asked if we could do a humans to Mars mission now or by the early 2020s, our guest said yes but listen to the details of this discussion.  Also, with regards to the private astronaut missions to Mars or elsewhere, several questions arose about the conditioning of the private astronaut crew, what microgravity countermeasures and exercise equipment they would have on board, what routines they would strictly follow and more.  Our guest was mostly referring to space agency astronauts in terms of our readiness to do human spaceflight to Mars now or the very near future.  He was unable to address private astronaut missions or their details because they are unknown.  We did talk about gravity and the absence of it in spaceflight, both for humans and animals.  Advanced propulsion questions and comments kept coming up during the entire show. At one point, I asked how essential advanced propulsion was for long duration human spaceflight and he said there would be no long duration spaceflight without.  Listen for the details regarding his opinion on this issue. Doug called to ask about bacteria, DNA, cat implants and more.  Artificial insemination came up with regards to surrogate species.  Doug also raised questions about the size for a minimum viable population.  After Doug’s call, I asked what our guest thought the priorities should be for Mars human spaceflight.  He listed advanced propulsion technology as first followed by human quality of life issues which he described for us.  I also asked questions about crew compatibility for psychological reasons as well as the probable command structure for the crew on a long duration human spaceflight.  One listener asked Dr. Linnehan about the differences in a zoo vet as compared to the typical vet we use for our dogs and cats.  Larry emailed in to ask if an animal had ever been on a space walk.  Rick said not his knowledge, talked about the need for an animal EVA suit of which there are none, and when I asked about taking an animal with an astronaut on an EVA for research purposes, he explained why that was impractical.  The microgravity simulation work in the NASA neutral buoyancy pool came up and our guest said that for about every hour he spends on an EVA, he would have spend about 12 hours in the pool.  Near the end of our hour long discussion, Jack emailed in for the best goals for human space flight.  Our guest suggested evolving stage by stage with cislunar, La Grange points, lunar settlement and out further and further to other destinations as our capabilities and technology improved.  B John had emailed in a few questions about microbes and the sea plankton announced by the Russians as existing on the outside of the ISS.  While we discussed these questions earlier in the show, near the end I asked our guest his question about microbes traveling greater distances in space than humans have and if our missions that have entered interstellar space carry microbes with them.  In his summary, Dr. Linnehan stressed the importance of continuing to explore space, to leave our planet, set up settlements, and to do what we can to keep pressure on the policy makers as we know the importance of space development and exploration.  He supports the private/commercial efforts and missions and even suggested he would do a one way Mars trip to help open up a Martial settlement.

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