Dr. Michael A. Schmidt, President and Chief Scientific Officer of Sovaris Aerospace, was part of a group of space physiologists, crew surgeons, astronauts, vehicle designers, and mission planners who were convened to review, evaluate, and discuss the need for incorporating artificial gravity (AG) technologies into the vehicle design for human space exploration missions. The meeting was held at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA on February 18-19, 2014.
With the end of the International Space Station era only a few years away, and the international human spaceflight community turning its attention toward new exploration objectives far beyond low Earth orbit, a renewed interest in artificial gravity (AG) for future deep space missions has emerged. Commitments by spacecraft designers to spin a vehicle, spin part of a vehicle, spin an exercise device within a vehicle, or even just apply countermeasures to individual crew members, will only come following acceptance of a well-argued requirement from the life sciences community. The working group was convened to build on previous research and to forge a dedicated path to ask and answer such questions. The timing of such an effort dedicated to artificial gravity is more pressing, given that the first human mission to Mars is expected to depart in 2022.
For the artificial gravity initiative, Dr. Schmidt and his research colleague Dr. Thomas Goodwin (NASA Johnson Space Center) have focused their efforts at better understanding the complex molecular landscape that underlies that various morphological, physiological, and behavioral phenotypes that might change under microgravity and artificial gravity conditions. The work includes attention to genomics, epigenomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics, which can be applied to humans, animals, or human tissue surrogate models. These same models can be applied to all other human space flight conditions, as well as to human earth-based medicine.
The NASA artificial gravity white paper summary of this meeting can be seen at: