Broadcast 1579 (Special Edition)

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Guests: Dr. Robert Hienz, Dr. Peter Roma. Topics: Neurobehavioral and Psychosocial Factors for long duration spaceflight crew safety. 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. For more information on this subject and other research projects sponsored by the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI), visit their website at We welcomed our two guests, Dr. Robert Hienz and Dr. Roma to the program. In our opening, our guests talked about the work of Dr. Jo Brady since before even NASA got started dating back to the 1950's. Dr. Brady trained space monkey Able and Baker and later with Project Mercury, he trained the chimps Ham and Enos to function in space. You do not want to miss this discussion and tribute to Dr. Brady and his outstanding career and contributions to human spaceflight. Our guests then began describing the research they do regarding neurobehavioral & psychosocial factors for crew safety in long duration spaceflight. We talked about the Mars 500 study, the importance of analog environmental studies, and more. Our guests also discussed some of the techniques available to mitigate some of the problems encountered by long duration crew. Among the tools talked about, long term and lots of planning were at the top of the list. We also talked about communications and the delays as the crew goes deeper into space. We learned the need to keep the communications short but to pack lots of data and information into the communication package. At the end of the first segment, we talked about emotional support on the long durations and we addressed emotional support animals as well as plants. In our second segment, team performance was discussed as was group cohesion. Our guests told us about the experiments that study how people do in these areas in closed groups and simulated experiences. We learned for example that most of the tests are video game like which helps to cross over language and culture barriers. Our guests received many questions drawing upon parallels with submarines and other established group organizations. We talked about the probable command structure of a long duration mission and compared it to the military structure in a submarine. This brought our guests to discuss leadership and different types of leaders, looking at what may be preferable for the long mission to Mars. Family influence was another topic and after much discussion, our guest indicated than an option may be to have a crew less connected to Earth given the amount of time the crew will be gone along with the uncertainties of the trip. Questions came in about those wanting to go to Mars, even on a one way trip. Don't miss what our guests said about astronauts being asked about going on a Mars mission. You will hear it said that anyone not an astronaut, including our two guests, would be totally naive about spaceflight and a potential Mars mission. Our two guests defined long duration for us in this segment. You might be surprised by the definition. Other topics discussed near the end of our program included microgravity and its impact on behavior, food & nutritional variables and how the research studies are evaluated. At the end, I asked about time lines. In summary, we agreed that it would be more likely that the engineering & propulsion issues would be worked out prior to the behavioral & medical issues. For more information on this subject, visit the NSBRI website. Post your comments and questions on blog URL above. If you want to email either of our guests, send your note to me at



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20 Jun 2011 Dr. Robert D. Hienz, Dr. Peter Roma
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