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Guest: Dr. Erik Seedhouse; Topics: Dr. Seedhouse discussed is life support book, :Life Support Systems for Humans in Space along with his science fiction novel, "Terminal Reality." Human medical factors were also topics for discussion as was propulsion.
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We welcomed back Dr. Erik Seedhouse for a two segment 94 minute discussion regarding life support for humans in space with his text book on the subject, "Life Support Systems for Humans in Space. During the second segment, we talked science fiction with Erik from the vantage point of his first ever sci-fi novel, "Terminal Reality." We started our discussion with the human factors portion of our program. Dr. Seedhouse was asked why he wrote a human factors and life support textbook. In his response, Erik summarized the book, called out some of the main chapters and topics plus he mentioned how his book was different from the basic textbook in use for twenty plus years. Two of the areas that got most of the attention were microgravity and radiation.
Eric had much to say about microgravity and bone loss. In fact, this discussion covered the majority of our first segment. Part of the conversation addressed artificial gravity which Erik supported but listen to what he said about the reality of it showing up on a spacecraft. He talked about the previous concept of having a centrifuge as part of the ISS, plus he talked about spinning a spacecraft and the use of tethers. Part of this discussion dealt with space settlement, human birth in space, children in space, the ability of a person born in space to adjust to low gravity then to return to Earth in our 1G environment. Our guest talked about exercises and other protocols, O2 levels and scrubbing CO2 from a spaceship, plus he mentioned the AEM (Animal Enclose Model) for rodent bone loss experiments. In the lengthier spinning conversations, held later in the program, Erik pointed out some of the challenges with spinning including dealing with the Coriolis force. Back to space settlement, he said it would be super risky. Listen all of what he said on this topic as it was illuminating on the topic. Continuing addressing low gravity and bone loss issues, he talked about fractures and NASA planning for the worst case scenario but hoping the worst case did not happen.
Marshall was our first caller. He wanted to talk about anti-gravity space stations that spin while mentioning a few of the potential commercial stations being planned. He talked about these models leading us to Mars. Much was said about the ISS in this part of our discussion. Marshall and Erik did talk about possible future plans with SpaceX and Elon Musk. Erik indicated that for now Musk was not planning on spinning to obtain artificial gravitation. He did say a short arm centrifuge might be more likely but listen to the challenges for such a device as our guest had lots to say about short arm centrifuges and the lack of availability of them for study here on Earth..
Erik was asked about artificial gravity plans if any for Starship. Erik talked about SpaceX crew life support re Crew Dragon but said not that much on Starship had yet to be made public. Here, he went into more detail about CO2 removal, submarines, the ISS, and new technology.
Dr. Doug called to point out that while fractures may be possible, none had not happened with any astronauts in space so far. Erik again explained that NASA plans for the worst and hopes it never happens. He said fractures might be rare but described a Mars scenario impacting an astronaut with a long bone fracture. He talked about how it would take up vital crew and other resources to help the person with the fracture. He also cited the stats from Skylab regarding crew bone loss. As for life support on Starship, Dr. Doug said that SpaceX was not there yet nor ready to deal directly with these concerns. At that point in the discussion, Erik suggested three SpaceX life support people to get on The Space Show for this discussion. I will see if any of the three will get approval to talk SpaceX life support on the program. The paper that Erik referenced can be found here: https://ttu-ir.tdl.org/bitstream/handle/2346/86364/ICES-2020-333.pdf.
We started the second segment with a shift to science fiction and Erik's first sci-fi novel "Terminal Reality. Eric provided us with a short synopsis of the story. One of the subtopics in the book that we discussed included the use of anti-matter propulsion. This topic opened the door for Erik to provide us with a quick update on Vasimir. Next, our guest talked about his use of hibernation but then something went wrong and the crew woke up. This part of the discussion opened up the door for a hibernation discussion with Erik mentioning the company researching this issue, SpaceWorks Enterprises. Erik spent time talking about .
therapeutic hypothermia. Erik talked about the importance of developing these tools for the human race via human spaceflight. He then talked sci-fi as in his book for the future he mentioned possibilities that might include artificial wombs, possibly even artificial fetuses for space settlement.
Tim from Huntsville called to talk some more about the use of tethers plus he mentioned the company Tethers Unlimited. Don't miss this discussion between Erik and Tim. Note how Erik again worked in spinning and the challenges that go along with it such as dealing with the Coriolis effect. Before leaving, Tim brought up some issues around anti-matter propulsion, light speed and countermeasures for gravity. Erik mentioned the use of the Penguin suit along with the development of positive pressure suits.
Ft. Worth John called late in the program to talk more about hibernation, wanting to know if it could compensate for bone loss. Don't miss what Erik said in response to John's question. Erik then talked about new advances such as nanotech devices such Vasculoids. John talked about radiation and Erik mentioned damage repair with tardigrades as an example. Erik then provided us with a short extremophile commentary.
Jazz in NYC sent in a note about when Erik thought we would see humans walk on Mars. Erik mentioned the SpaceX 2028 timeline saying that would be the earliest but that he thought it would be later than that. Note that Erik referred to Elon Musk as the Mars Messiah plus he mentioned "Occupy Mars" t-shirts that he said were available. Before ending the program, Erik mentioned his second updated book on SpaceX which he said he was hoping to get published next year after Boeing flies CST 100.
Please post your questions/comments on TSS blog for this show. You can reach Dr. Seedhouse via me or his faculty page at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida.