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Dr. Mark Shelhamer, Tuesday, 7-22-14 July 23, 2014

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Dr. Mark Shelhamer, Tuesday, 7-22-14

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2286-BWB-2014-07-22.mp3

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Guest:  Dr. Mark Shelhamer.  Topics:  A look at the risks associated with long duration human 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 Dr. Mark Shelhamer, Chief Scientist of the NASA Human Research Program to the show to discuss the critical risks associated with BLEO long duration HSP. You can hear his FISO talk on this topic from April 2, 2014 at http://spirit.as.utexas.edu/~fiso/telecon/Shelhamer_4-2-14/Shelhamer.mp3.  His associated Power Point can be downloaded at http://spirit.as.utexas.edu/~fiso/telecon/Shelhamer_4-2-14/Shelhamer_4-2-14.ppt.  During the first segment of our 95 minute discussion, Dr. Shelhamer started off saying  we would be talking about beyond low earth orbit only and that many of the risks are unknown since we have very little experience with BLEO.  Much of what we do know is extrapolated from our current knowledge base plus our Apollo experience.  Next, our guest defined three major areas/issues.  First he listed medical issues which he later described as onsite medical treatments for various complications, illnesses, surgical needs and such.  He classified physical deconditioning issues such as muscle and bone loss issues, cardio vascular issues in a different category.  The second group he identified had to do with radiation, and the third group included psychological-social issues.  I asked about Microgravity not being in the top three and he said because those issues are likely a constant for both LEO and BLEO missions.  He then talked at length about the challenges needing countermeasures/mitigation.  He did not say these were showstopper challenges but they do require effective countermeasures.  For example, he said humans could probably survive a trip to Mars today providing the hardware & life support was up to the job but their goal is to get the crew there in good condition, to be able to do effective work, and to return safely.  He did not think those goals could be obtained today.  I asked if money was a primary issue and it was not though he said more money is always helpful. He talked about the time needed for some human studies, team studies, and research, sometimes extending even longer than a year.  He then took us through the three categories to tell us what NASA was doing & how it was doing in that research area. You might be surprised by what you hear.  I certainly was.  Later, we talked about ocular/vision issues which are now getting front page attention.  He explained the latest theory causing the problem as possible fluid shifts.  Listen to this discussion.  Note that once we start with BLEO HSF, we may find other problems that do not now show up now.  Also, we may develop a countermeasure for one problem but that opens the door to lots of other problems currently unknown.  One tool he talked about that was being tested on the ISS Russian sector was lower body negative pressure.  Artificial gravity was a big part of our discussion.  While everyone is enthusiastic about it, he made the point of saying we don’t know the needed spin rate nor do we know what level of gravity is needed for humans or for how long. Just spinning a spacecraft without knowing this information is unlikely to be successful let alone cost effective or economic. He also pointed out that artificial gravity is costly, requires lots of energy, a huge spacecraft which means lots of mass to orbit, & to do it, it needs to be done in a way that maximizes the benefits for the crew.  Without knowing the precise spin rate and gravity needs for humans plus how long the crew needs to be in artificial gravity, it is likely it won’t be done just for cost and economic reasons alone.  Charles emailed in about bed rest analog studies.  Joe sent in a question about lower back pain & spine issues.  As the segment ended, I asked him if humans were lousy candidates for BLEO spaceflight.  Don’t miss his answer.

In the second segment, we took a call from Dave about nuclear submarines as an analog for HSF studies.  Our next topic was space radiation which our guest discussed in detail.  I then took two email questions from B John in Sweden.  He asked about the benefits of microgravity for disabled folks, then I read a longer email from him suggesting solutions for the microgravity, psychology, and radiation issues already existed and why was NASA not proposing and developing “these simple non-medical solutions to the problems you describe.”  Dr. Shelhamer responded to his email item by item. For the most part, he agreed with what B John was saying except that his information and perspective were limited and missing key components of the scenarios he was talking about.  Mark explained why our listener’s comments were way too simple and cited some scenarios to illustrate this.  It was a fascinating reply to what many of us believe are already effective countermeasures.  Unfortunately, while what many of us suggest is correct, what we suggest does not go far enough and does not contain the specifics and details of what is actually required to make a specific countermeasure work.  Otherwise, the countermeasures are far more complex than what B John asked about in his email which you will hear me read on the program.  I asked Mark about genetic modification and that took us to the subject of personalized countermeasures.  We talked about pioneering/space settlement, childbirth & children in the space environment, even gender differences for BELO HSF.  I asked about the differences from his perspective of doing HSF to the Moon, an asteroid, Mars, or Deimos.  There are differences, don’t miss his response.  As the program was ending, I asked if a commercial company without gov. funding could decide to do a BLEO mission without all the costs and safety concerns of NASA.  Mark said it might be possible though the costs of the missions and the technology needed would make it very hard for a commercial company to carry out.  He said a short cut bare bones mission might be achieved by a commercial company but the risks for the crew would be extreme.  If you were running a commercial company and funding such a mission, would you accept these risks, plus the risk the crew might not be able to do much or be effective once they got to their destination? As the commercial company CEO, would that be a good use of company money or would you dismiss what people like our guest today have to say about these issues.  Let me know your thoughts by posting them on the blog.

Please post comments/questions on TSS blog above. Mark can be reached through me or through his PPT presentation address.

Classroom with Drs. John Jurist & Jim Logan, Tuesday, 12-17-13 December 16, 2013

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Classroom with Drs. John Jurist & Jim Logan, Tuesday, 12-17-13

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2145-BWB-2013-12-17.mp3

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Guests:  Dr. Jim Logan, Dr. John Jurist.  Topics: This was a Classroom show on radiation issues for deep space travel, Mars and Moon settlements.  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. Jim Logan and Dr. John Jurist to this special 2.5 hour Space Show classroom in-depth discussion on space radiation. We focused our discussion on deep space, Mars, the Moon and BLEO missions. Note that on both The Space Show blog (see above) and The Space Show Classroom blog (http://spaceshowclassroom.wordpress.com),  Dr. Jurist has a Power Point presentation on radiation.  During the program, our guests referred to specific slides that you will want to check out.  In our first segment, Dr. Logan started out by telling us about his interest in the subject, why he has been writing a paper on the subject for publication, and how this Classroom show came about.  He cited our short duration spaceflight experience, the Apollo missions, Space Shuttle flights, and then how things started to change when we had six month ISS visits.  Dr. Logan also made it clear that space was not a benign emptiness type of environment.  He said the reality was that interplanetary space was a sea of disruptive ionizing radiation wrecking havoc on biologic systems.  We moved forward in our discussion from that point.  We talked about the findings of the MSL RAD instrument regarding radiation on the way to Mars and on the surface of Mars.  Both John and Jim spent some time putting the RAD numbers through analysis to let us know what this means for human missions to Mars.  We talked shielding, possible materials, passive and active.  We talked extensively about water and the use of hydrogen as well for shielding.  Our guests addressed the two types of radiation, the GCR (galactic cosmic rays) and the CME/solar flare.  Here, John suggested listeners look at his slide 13 as we talked about protons and neutrons.  Jim said there was no magic bullet and talked about shielding effects of Earth’s atmosphere.  Pay attention here as Jim introduced us to the  RP scale.  For being on the surface, he said nothing less than RP100 would suffice.  For the vehicle, an RP5 was required.  John introduced us to career limits for radiation for men and women astronauts of different age but the career limits are for LEO and not BLEO.  BLEO limits are expected to be more restrictive when made public in April 2014.  Earth Mars transit times were discussed, especially in the context of Brian’s email that suggested a 180 day transit time.  Both our guests said that was unlikely with chemical propulsion and all of us again stressed the need for nuclear thermal propulsion.  Microgravity was talked about, especially in the context of side effects due to the radiation environment.  Jim then brought up the EVA subject and spacesuits.  Briefly, Jim said that quite possibly the ISS construction represented the zenith of EVAs which may become a thing of the past.  Don’t miss why he said this plus his description of serious spacesuit limitations.  We talked about life support to Mars and here Jim suggested we should use Open Loop! Again, listen to the rational behind this recommendation.  Don’t miss what our guests said about theories & movies making it sound easy to go to Mars and that the radiation would be nothing more than just a few more cigarette packs a year.  Our last topic addressed informed consent issues.

In the second segment, I asked our guests for a readiness timetable were there sufficient funding and technology advancements.  I also inquired if Russia, China, and others assessed the radiation risks in a similar way to the U.S.  We then talked about radiation and space pregnancy, fetus development, birth, and informed consent for the fetus, a baby, and a child under 18.  Ethical issues regarding child birth and space pregnancy were talked about as well.  Curt had sent in email questions which our guests answered, especially about drinking irradiated water and microgravity DNA damage & what this may mean for radiation effects.  Next, I asked Jim and John to tell us their 2-5 steps for the start of designing a Mars human mission.  Jim went first and listed Day 1 and Day 2 activities, John listed his top three priorities which were different than those suggested by Jim.  Don’t miss this discussion as its very instructive as to how to do or at least start mission planning for a human mission BLEO.  Roger sent in a question asking if the crew should be senior citizens since they have more resistance to radiation.  Don’t miss what our guests said about this idea.  It may surprise you.  Our next topic was would going to Deimos be easier.  Yes, it would but it would be a very different kind of human  mission.  Jim had some great comments about Mars gravity.  Briefly, he said it was the “best.” Later, when asked to compare the Moon and Mars, our guests said lunar radiation was worse than Mars.  Also, the Mars atmosphere does provide limited shielding while there is no such thing on the Moon.  Jim had earlier talked about a sphere being the perfect shape for an interplanetary spaceship.  Shelia emailed in wanting to know if heavy lift made a difference and if the sphere was so good, why were capsules being used? Don’t miss the response.  We then talked about the complexities of rendezvous and docking, especially in the context of fewer launches (heavy lift) as compared to many more launches (smaller rockets).  Near the end, I asked our guests if either thought our nation, the public, NASA, our leaders and politicians were sufficiently motivated to do a human Mars mission.  Jim did not think so and had much more to say in reply to this question.  John was more pessimistic.  Both thought it was more likely that the private sector would mount a human Mars mission rather than our seeing a government mission, but raising the needed capital might turn out to be a show stopper.  The three of us then talked about what it was like growing up in the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s as compared to today.  John and I (John is a bit more than 2 years older than me) were probably more harsh than Jim in our assessment of today, but we all realize that the younger generations will be taking us to space, building the next smartphone and more. I talked about my visits to Google, Apple, SpaceX, etc. and the excitement in the air in belonging in their work forces which does not seem to exist with NASA. This opened the door for Jim to put it on the line about his NASA experiences and the potential opportunities providing NASA can somehow reorganize.  He did not think the type of reorganization he was talking about would happen.  Both our guests left us with excellent takeaway points and concluding pearls of wisdom.

Please post your comments/questions on the blogs. You can reach either of our guests through me.

                                                  Radiation Biophysics and Human Spaceflight

Dr. Marcelo Vazquez, Monday, 7-1-13 July 2, 2013

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Dr. Marcelo Vazquez, Monday, 7-1-13

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/2040-BWB-2013-07-01.mp3

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Guest:  Dr. Marcelo Vazquez.  Topics:  Space radiation with a focus on humans to Mars.  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 of you interested in the opportunity to submit feedback on the NRC congressionally mandated Human Spaceflight Study, please go to www.nationalacademies.org/humanspaceflight.  Please remember that your Amazon Purchases Can Help Support The Space Show/OGLF (http://www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm).

We welcomed back Dr. Marcelo Vazquez back to discuss space radiation and mostly human spaceflight to Mars though we covered much ground dealing with space radiation, the risk to humans, mitigation and shielding, as well as policy issues.  During the first segment of our 1 hour 38 minute program, we jumped right into it by my asking our guest about the radiation risks, exposure levels, and survival odds for both the Inspiration Mars mission and the Mars One effort to send settler to Mars on a one way mission starting late 2020 or 2021.  This was a detailed and comprehensive discussion of the issues for these missions, the state of the art shielding availability, possible technology advancements, and more.  We also talked about radiation & pregnancy on a Mars mission, radiation & a young child on Mars or in space, cosmic rays, solar events & extrapolations from radiation oncology.  Doug called to ask about the need for a solar storm shelter in case of a solar particle event. Before the end of the first segment, we talked about ISS analogs, antioxidants, and electromagnetic shielding possibilities.

In the second segment, Michael sent an article about the LRO analysis suggesting light weight materials and plastics might shield astronauts on the Moon.  Dr. Vazquez said this was in keeping with what was known.  Joel sent a note asking about RLIP76 and spaceflight, a subject on which our guest had much to say. Our guest went into detail about the radiation impact on a human system, including the destruction of blood vessels.  In this light, I asked him about radiation and epithelial cells & if this was a show stopper for HSF, especially to Mars.  Another question came in on antioxidants and while they might be helpful to some degree, they might also need to be taken at levels that are at or near toxic to humans.  Another listener asked about radiation & telomeres, then we talked about valid analog space radiation studies here on Earth.  I asked our guest about other nations doing HSF radiation research, then Jeff called in to discuss the Curiosity radiation findings and the regulatory questions involved since a person going to Mars would exceed the radiation dose allowed by existing OSHA & other regulations.  We talked about the validity of Inspiration Mars as a research study & as the program ended, we talked about neurological and cognitive radiation impact & some tests Inspiration Mars crews could do in this area on the mission.

Post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog above.  You can send a note to our guest by using my email address.

Dr. Joan Vernikos, Friday, 4-5-13 April 5, 2013

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Dr. Joan Vernikos, Friday, 4-5-13

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1989-BWB-2013-04-05.mp3

Guest:  Dr. Joan Vernikos.  Topics: Inspiration Mars flyby mission, human factors, counter measures, mitigation strategies.  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.

We welcomed Dr. Joan Vernikos back to the program, this time to discuss the proposed Inspiration Mars flyby mission.  In the first half of our two hour program, Dr. Vernikos said it was a doable mission but that new ideas and solutions needed to be developed for the human factors.  When asked about the biggest problem, our guest said it would be the ability of the two person crew to get along and work together for the full mission.  This issue came up several more times during the program so you will hear more about it over the two hour discussion.  We took an early question from Dwayne about the overall air quality in the spacecraft and issues with bacteria and the air filtration.  Dr. Joan had much to say about this as it could be a problem depending on lots of factors including the ability to repair a damaged system during the mission.  Dr. Joan talked about life support and psychological issues along with the human factors.  Microgravity and radiation issues came up but again, there was a focus on the risk of destructive & irritating behavior with the crew members.  One of the recurrent themes was to look for alternative ways to develop tools and counter measures rather than doing much the same year after year which has been our history in developing human spaceflight protocols.  Dr. Rowe called in to strongly suggest that such a flyby mission should be delayed until 2032, putting forth his best arguments for the delay and why it should not be attempted in 2018.  Bill listed lots of medical events that could happen and which we cannot treat in space, all in support of delaying the flight until human spaceflight is better developed & we know more about it.

In the second segment, Doug called & talked about regulators possibly saying the crew was intentionally attempting to commit suicide. He talked about the medical code 5150 regarding intentional suicide. We also talked about possible regulatory issues around the issuance of a launch license.  Doug also talked about radiation, both within the Van Allen Belts and on the way to deep space.  Next, Dr. Dilip Sarkar from Norfolk called in to discuss alternative human factor countermeasures such as yoga.  Check our Dr. Sarkar’s website, https://sites.google.com/site/dilipsarkar/home.  The discussion of yoga for pre-flight training and to help with countermeasures was most interesting. Dr. Rowe called in several more times to challenge Dr. Joan and Dr. Sarkar on their yoga theories regarding spaceflight.  I believe you will find the discussions and calls very informative.  As the program was ending, Dr. Joan was again asked about the biggest challenge and she said it would be the human interaction with the crew. We also talked about the mental issue of withdrawal from Earth which will be pronounced on a Mars flight.

If you have comments/questions, post them on the blog.  You can email Dr. Joan through her website, www.joanvernikos.com.  I also recommend you sign up for her newsletter.

Dr. Erik Seedhouse, Sunday, 3-11-12 March 11, 2012

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Dr. Erik Seedhouse, Sunday, 3-11-12

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1732-BWB-2012-03-11.mp3

Guest:  Dr. Erik Seedhouse.  Topics:  We discussed his book, “Interplanetary Outpost: The Human and Technological Challenges of Exploring the Outer Planets,” the human factors issues & the technical issues for such missions.  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 Dr. Seedhouse to discuss his new book on interplanetary missions.  Remember, if you buy the book using the following Amazon URL, Amazon will make a contribution to The Space Show/OGLF (www.amazon.com/Interplanetary-Outpost-Technological-Challenges-Exploration/dp/1441997474/ref=onegiantlea20).  Dr. Seedhouse began our discussion by talking about the interplanetary mission research that has been done over the years and is still continuing though in a greatly reduced mode.  In this discussion, he referenced the HOPE Study for mission architecture to travel to Callisto, one of the moon’s of Jupiter.  He also talked about research going on with ESA regarding human hibernation and on this subject, we spend a considerable amount of time. Artificial gravity and radiation were discussed along with vision problems for astronauts having spent at least four months on orbit.

As we started the second segment,Marshall called in and wanted to know about athletic and sports games to pass the time for the crew on long spaceflights.  Dr. Seedhouse thought more of the idea to have some sort of sport or athletic game at the destination rather than on the spaceflight.  We also talked about what it would take to change attitudes and policy to undertake an interplanetary mission.  At one point in the discussion, our guest suggested we might be too soft in modern times to explore and that we were no longer as interested in exploring as we once were.  Make sure you hear this entire conversation.  We fielded more listener questions and calls, talked about humans being able to adapt to the space environment over a long period of time and genetic screening for crew selection.  We covered crew selection in some detail which then took us to the subject of bioethics which do not yet exist in any formal way for an interplanetary mission. Erik did include his version of an Interplanetary Bioethics Manual as Appendix II. We talked about pregnancy, pre-emptive surgery, death of a crew member, death of a family member back on Earth, waivers that would need to be signed by both crew and family members, and much more.  Toward the end of the program, our guest was asked about interplanetary propulsion systems and multigenerational crews.  Erik talked about the VASIMR and we asked lots of questions about the 2nd and 3rd generation members of the multigenerational crew and how to be sure they become doctors, engineers, and other positions needed for the crew’s survival and success.  We also talked about modernizing space suits and Erik told us about Blue Suit Days as a requirement for Canadian astronauts for space outreach support.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog URL above.