Broadcast 1899 (Special Edition)

The Space Foundation Conference

22 Nov 2012 Dr. Marcelo Vazquez
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Guest: Dr. Marcelo Vazquez. Topic: Galactic cosmic radiation & human spaceflight in deep space. Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, 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 back Dr. Marcelo Vazquez for deep space radiation updates since his last visit to the show on August 22, 2006. In our first segment, Dr. Vazquez updated us with new information about Martian surface radiation due to the instruments on board Curiosity now roving on Mars. We talked about the meanings of the findings so far and the good news for astronauts visiting Mars as we are learning that being on the surface will likely be doable. We then talked about transit times to and from Mars and why that presents a different set of radiation challenges. For our discussion, we only referenced existing, operational propulsion - chemical propulsion. We did not talk about advanced propulsion travel times or nuclear propulsion travel times as our focus was on what was available today, not what may be available in the near or intermediate term. The Galactic Cosmic Radiation (GCR) is a problem with lots of unknowns. A further complication is a solar event but that could probably be shielded for with an onboard shelter. Not so with the GCR. Dr. Vazquez even pointed out that GCR may cause an incomplete mission as it impacts the central nervous system & that might be a bigger risk than cancer at the end of the mission. Listeners emailed & called with radiation questions, even asking about the difference in GCR and radiation here on Earth. Other topics addressed in this segment included the use of older astronauts given they might suffer less radiation damage than a younger person, cell damage and division, timelines for potential solutions, & space settlement/family issues in light of what we know about space radiation today. In our second segment, we talked about Cislunar space, EML1, EML2, the lunar surface and NEOs in light of radiation dangers for astronauts. The ISS was discussed within the context of Martian surface radiation, along with the South Atlantic Anomaly and polar/equatorial radiation on Earth. Listener Bruce emailed about Marcelo "slightly over stating space radiation." I read the email on air so do listen to the response given to Bruce. Dr. Vazquez then talked about the NASA guidelines & the number of safe deep space radiation days for an adult male and an adult female (they differ). Near the end, a NYC first responder called in about possible radiation incidents in NYC & treatments available, including new medicines. At the end, I asked out guest for success indicators. We were directed to note the biologic focus given GCR can directly impact a molecule. We concluded with a short update on radiation used in cancer treatment including proton and carbon ion therapy. In summary, no show stoppers but lots of challenges that Dr. Vazquez believes will be resolved through future research. Please post our comments/questions on The Space Show blog URL. If you want to reach our guest, you can do so through me.



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