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Guest: Dr. Erik Seedhouse; Topics: Radiation issues and human spaceflight, new mitigation research, space farming, weight adjusted radiation studies and much more.
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We welcomed Dr. Erik Seedhouse back to the show to discuss his latest book, "Space Radiation And Astronauts." During the first part of our two part 89 minute discussion, Dr. Seedhouse talked about the motivation for the book which also serves as an ISU text book on the subject. In addition, Dr. Seedhouse referenced the radiation research work by noted societies, Dr. Frank Cucinotta who has been a guest on The Space Show multiple times over the past few years. From here, Dr. Seedhouse provided us with information on radiation cumulated dosages, lifetime dosages, limits and safety requirements. Erik also talked different types of shielding, why older people are better prospects for a high radiation environment like spaceflight and why BLEO is different than say being on the ISS.
Erik received multiple listener emails asking about SpaceX plans for Mars, life support issues, private astronauts versus NASA, and the medical/scientific research being referenced by Erik. In addition, BJohn from Sweden sent in multiple emails challenging Erik's research, pressing him for medical data on radiation regarding astronauts and inquiring how many astronauts had been injured so far by radiation. The back and forth with Erik and BJohn lasted the rest of the show. At times, I entered the discussion regarding research as I have noticed that over the years of hosting The Space Show, many advocates tend to dismiss or attack the research as the findings are not supportive of their Mars and human spaceflight visions and wishes. Regardless, let us know what you think of what BJohn was saying and asking for how what our guest said in response to the emails from Sweden. We did talk about the research, how it was collected, that it was peer reviewed and more. That said, most of it uses radiation models with rats and rodents, cancer studies, and other terrestrial means of collecting data as there has been very little opportunity to collect real time space research with astronauts. It would be nice to have "on the job" real time research which I assume will follow as the human spaceflight BLEO increases in the future.
In Part 2 of our program we talked about space farming and growing food in space. Erik said this was not that advanced so far. We talked about food and radiation and Gravitropism and plants. I asked our guest about the plant and agriculture plans for Mars One. Erik said we had not closed the loop on life support and having plant food grown in space. Erik then mentioned his visit to the ESA Melissa closed loop life support project in Madrid. He said this was the most advanced closed loop life support research program. Do listen carefully to how he described it, including the amount of research space it was taking up. Find out more about this project at www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Engineering_Technology/ESA_s_MELiSSA_life-support_programme_wins_academic_recognition.
Our topic was that of Omics or personalized medicine, a topic we have discussed on earlier programs. Included in this discussion was genetic manipulation and the use of Omics for possible future Mars and BLEO crew selection. Erik was asked if radiation risks were connected to other risks such as with microgravity. He said yes but listen to all of what he had to say on this topic. Erik summarized his comments by saying there was no magic bullet, no one fix fits all. The idea he liked the best was the ESA vest that they were testing. His final listener question asked him for a Vasimir update.
Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog for this show. You can reach Dr. Seedhouse though me or his university website. He also has online classes so check out www.integratedspaceflight.com.