Broadcast 1589 (Special Edition)

The Space Foundation Conference

10 Jul 2011 Dr. Erik Seedhouse
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Guest: Dr. Erik Seedhouse. Topic: Space medicine, human spaceflight, bioethical issues for human spaceflight. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, 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 Erik Seedhouse to discuss human spaceflight (HSF) space medicine and his new book, "Trailblazing Medicine: Sustaining Explorers During Interplanetary Missions." Erik started our discussion with some of the highlights from his book regarding space medicine including cell repair technology, radiation, microgravity and comments about the Mars 500 experiment. When asked for the primary challenges he focused on radiation and microgravity. I asked him about mental and behavioral issues and he said that they were not as critical and that we were soft, referencing early expeditions of Shackleton, Nansen, and others. He received a listener question about shielding using dirt or water & he had much to say about this, including the weight penalty. Don't miss this discussion. Artificial gravity and spinning the HSF vehicle were also discussed as was the need for pre-emptive surgery before the flight. Bioethical issues came up during a discussion about pregnancy on a long duration space voyage. In the second segment, Erik talked about genetic testing, more on bioethical issues and rules, suborbital issues, and human hibernation. Erik then brought up cell repair technology and the possible use of multiple crews for the longer missions. In our final segment, nuclear propulsion came up & our guest advocated VASIMR. I mentioned the comments Dr. Zubrin had to say about VASIMR and John called in to also advocate nuclear propulsion but not necessarily VASIMR. I asked Erik for his plan on doing HSF and he said we needed a goal. We also talked about his book providing us with a review of the golden years of exploration from which we could learn much that could be applied to space exploration today. Lunar exploration and habitats were discussed, death of a crew member was discussed, bioethical issues came up again and were seen as issues a government would not want to tackle. He suggested the private companies would be doing the HSF long duration missions. Post your comments or questions for Erik Seedhouse on the blog URL above. You can email Erik at



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