Broadcast 1240 (Special Edition)

16 Oct 2009 Dr. Jim Logan
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Guest: Dr. Jim Logan. Topics: Reasons for human spaceflight, human factors issues, biomedical and bioengineering for long term space travel/settlement, space tourism. Dr. Jim Logan returned to The Space Show to discuss several very important topics in this two hour program. Please note that Dr. Logan's comments are his own and in no way was he speaking for NASA, any agency, program, or anyone else. In our first segment, Dr. Logan was asked if he could identify the compelling reason for human spaceflight or if it even mattered with the general public. Dr. Logan had much to say on this issue including his observations for the trend over the years for space not resonating with the public. We talked about the fact that most people are woefully and poorly educated about our space program and policy. For example, he said many people think the NASA budget is at least 10% of the federal budget when in fact it’s less than 1%. During this segment, he also said that NASA's focus on building the vehicle was misplaced. In his personal opinion, the focus should be on the mission, not building the vehicle. In the second segment, we started out by asking Dr. Logan about biomedical showstoppers for long-term human habitation in space. One point he made was that if the duration of the mission was around two weeks to several months, there were probably no showstoppers. However in missions beyond LEO and over six months, there is an entirely different life science paradigm. He mentioned three main biomedical challenges including radiation, hypogravity, and the synergistic effect of both of these and other factors. This is a very important discussion so don't miss it. Dr. Logan also spoke about countermeasures being less than effective and producing side effects that introduce complications for solving the problem in the first place. We talked about gravity, artificial gravity and pseudo-gravity as compared to the real thing. Dr. Logan suggested that the bad news was that as our science has improved, our problems to counter have become more severe. As for spinning a vehicle to provide artificial gravity, these would have to be very large vehicles to minimize adverse impacts on the crew and, after 48 years of human spaceflight, we still do not know the dose, frequency, and side effects of gravity issues. Later in this segment, the Hubble Space Telescope repair mission was brought up as an example of the merger of the science, technical and human spaceflight efforts. Don't miss Dr. Logan's comments on this subject. At the end of the segment, Dr. Logan was asked about the impact of space advocacy on space policy and NASA. We started our third segment with a question from Mel regarding the specific path to take to become an aerospace medicine doctor. Mel's question asked for specific recommendations and Jim provided specifics for the paths to take to have a specialty in aerospace medicine. This is probably the most comprehensive outline of how to accomplish this goal that has been discussed on The Space Show so don't miss the advice and suggestions offered by Dr. Logan. Later in this segment, we talked about the Augustine Commission report and commercial spaceflight. Space tourism also came up as did possible silver bullets for pushing forward with commercial space development. Near the end of this segment, he was asked about human factors for suborbital space tourism and said that in his opinion, it would be unethical for a company to allow a suborbital passenger to go for a ride without specific flight profile centrifuge training. This is a must hear discussion. In the fourth and final segment, we led off with a question for Dr. Logan about the likelihood of the nations on this planet pulling together to thwart something like a NEO heading for Earth collision. Dr. Logan said he was an optimist and said we would pull together. But a question he raised in this discussion was is intelligence its own executioner? We spoke some more about space advocacy and he suggested that many lack real knowledge. He listed a group of subjects that space advocates should study and learn, starting with the rocket equation as he said understanding it was the difference between reality and fantasy. You will want to pay careful attention to all of his recommendations. At the end of the show and this segment, our focus turned to the need for In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU). For example, Dr. Logan said if he was head of space policy, he would say if we wanted to go back to the Moon, first we would have to have sitting on the lunar surface a tank of cryogenic liquid oxygen ready to be used for the return mission. Only after figuring how to do that and actually doing it would he approve the return to the Moon mission. If you have a comment or question for Dr. Jim Logan, please send it to me at drspace@thespaceshow.com and I will promptly forward it to him.

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