Dedicated to the Health and Safety of the Personal Space Traveler

Friday, September 30, 2011

Why Do We Need To Go To Space?

We need to go to space for several reasons.  We are explorers.  We need the jobs.  We need the medical research.

Humans have always been explorers.  From the earliest point in time we have been on the move - across continents, across oceans, under the seas, through the air, into space.  We need to see, we need to feel, we need to know.  We have google-mapped the planet and we still need to know more.  We have been to the moon, we have sent probes to the planets and we still need to know more.

We need the jobs.  People balk at the large price tag for space exploration.  And that is a good thing.  But, the vast majority of the price tag goes to salaries.  And those salaries go to people right here on earth.  Those salaries pay for mortgages, car loans, groceries, movie tickets, cable bills, internet bills, hair cuts, and much more.  Every dollar spent for space explorations circulates through our economy several times and keeps many businesses going.  Cut space programs and jobs dry up quickly.

Yes there are probably more cost effective ways to do medical research, but there is some research which requires the special environment found in low earth orbit.  Cancer research, osteoporosis, chromosome analysis are just a  few of the places benefiting from research done in space.  For more of these benefits read this ABC News article.

Yes the budget will be cut.  That is the political climate in Washington these days.  Let's hope they make intelligent cuts.  Cuts that make sense.  Cuts that don't hamstring NASA's ability to explore, create jobs, and conduct vital research.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Flying Blind in Space Long-Term?

In a September 2nd article on the website MedLine Plus, a site run by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, being in space for extended periods of time can affect your eyesight.

"The new study, of more than 300 astronauts in the U.S. space program, found that almost 50 percent of those who served on long missions -- six months or more -- reported experiencing new problems with their ability to see objects near to them while in space and for some time after returning to Earth. Roughly 23 percent of astronauts who spent shorter periods in orbit reported problems with their near vision during their missions and after getting home."

Yikes!  I hope we can find a solution for this.  Otherwise, we will not be able to see what we discover when we go venturing away from the planet.

Studying this and other space health issues should be something we are doing on the International Space Station.  After all, we don't even know what the health effects are for someone staying in space for as short as two years.  Hey, NASA, let's put some money into this please.

To view the entire Medline Plus article, click here.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Science Fairs are Coming

Calling all Science people!  Science Fair season in coming up in the next month or two.  I have already received two emails inviting me to judge at science fairs this fall.  If you think you might like to judge at a science fair, don't be afraid.  It is fun, easy, and you are helping to support the future. 

Don't know where to start?  Contact your local high school, middle/junior high school, or local board of education.  Let them know that you would be interested in judging.  They can put you in touch with the teacher or science coordinator in charge.

Then show up and spend 3 to 4 hours talking science with students.  Granted some of the projects will be duds, but when you see the work done by students who "get" it, you will be glad you showed up.

Do it now, you know you want to do it!