Broadcast 1278 (Special Edition)

The Space Foundation Conference

21 Dec 2009 Dr. William Rowe
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Guest: Dr. William Rowe. Topics: Special medical and human factors issues and solutions for long duration spaceflight and settlement. Dr. William Rowe returned to The Space Show to update us on some of his new research regarding spaceflight and kidney, cardiovascular, and other health issues regarding very long duration spaceflight and/or settlement. In segment one, Dr. Rowe introduced us to the issue of kidney risk. While some of what you hear may be a bit of a medical and technical discussion, make sure you listen carefully to what Dr. Rowe tells us. These are factors that have the potential to impact our going out into space to Mars and other destinations. This is important information. Other medical issues in this segment came up regarding the cardiovascular and stress test issues for former astronaut James Irwin. Dr. Rowe introduced us to the role of magnesium and the difficulty in delivering it to astronauts in space. In this context, he also drew important analogies for us to the Bushmen of the Kalahari. Pharmaceuticals were introduced as was the problem of malabsorption. As we launched the second segment, Dr. Rowe told us more about the important role of magnesium and why its a crucial issue for long duration spaceflight. Bill suggested we visit his website for some of his papers, research, and Letters to the Editor. Please visit Click on the flashing NEW sign or go direct to You will find many interesting articles and research papers on Bill's webpage. Later in this segment, Dr. Rowe began talking about gene therapy and vascular disease. He also talked about the difficulty in getting his researched published in space journals and in NASA quarters, but he gets published frequently in reviewed medical journals. Listeners asked Dr. Rowe several questions including applying what Dr. Rowe was talking about to much shorter suborbital tourist flights. Dr. Rowe stressed the importance of understanding the spaceflight risk for those that have hypertension. As we started the third and final segment, we returned to the subject of gene therapy and viral vectors. Listen to what Bill has to say about gene therapy as a possible solution to some of these serious medical challenges and note the time line he is talking about. Note his timeline for humans being able to go Mars. Do you agree with him? As we neared the end of the program, we spoke about the issue of obesity and spaceflight. Here, Dr. Rowe said that its a double threat for the astronaut or spaceflight participant in that not only will the problems of obesity be pronounced in spaceflight, so will the problems of spaceflight that Bill has been discussing on this show. Here he talked about insulin and other problems. As the show was winding down, I asked about age as a factor. How disgusting to learn that past 30 years of age we have some serious issues that are impacted by spaceflight. Listen to what Dr. Rowe had to say about the age issue. He even presented a short summary of a plan on how to groom and train Mars bound astronauts from about age 13. Do any of you think such a program would be possible in our culture even if medically and scientifically warranted? At the end of the show, Bill provided us with the example of the cave dwelling troglobite. You must hear this story . Listen to the question Bill asks us all, are we really that different in nature than the troglobite? If you have a question or comment for Dr. William Rowe, you can reach him through his website above by clicking on the Contact button near the bottom of his home page. The direct email address is



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