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Broadcast 1899 (Special Edition)Listen to the show!
Aired on November 23rd, 2012
Guest: Dr. Marcelo Vazquez
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.

About our guest...

Dr. Marcelo Vazquez
Dr. Marcelo Vazquez is an Associate Professor at the Radiation Medicine Department, Loma Linda University, CA. Currently Dr. Vazquez directs several educational programs on radiation biology as well as develops translational research projects related to radiation therapy using protons. He is also an independent consultant in space radiation, space radiobiology and radiation risks. Dr. Vazquez worked for 11 years at the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) supporting the NASA Space Radiation Health Program as a principal investigator, scientific liaison and program manager of the long-term support facility for NASA’s particle accelerator users. Dr. Vazquez created, directed and managed the NASA Space Radiation Summer School at BNL from 2005 to 2006. After his work at BNL, Dr. Vazquez was hired by the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) at Baylor College of Medicine, to serve as the institute’ space radiation liaison to NASA as well as an advisor and senior scientist. He also serve as a project manager for the NSBRI’ sponsored Lunar EVA Dosimetry project as well as the NSBRI’ Center for Acute Radiation Research. Representing NSBRI, Dr. Vazquez was Field Research Participant at the NASA/Mars Institute/Haughton Mars Project station at Devon Island, Canada performing several experiments for NSBRI and NASA. Scientific Interests: assess the effects of the space radiation environment on human health, develop medical countermeasures for deep space exploration, radiation oncology and first responders in case of a radiological accidents as well as the use of particle radiation to treat cancer. Education and Concurrent Positions: M.D. Nat’l Univ. of La Plata, Argentina, 1984; Ph.D. Nat’l Univ. of La Plata, 1990; Radiation Oncology Resident and Chief Resident, 1984-88; Doctoral Research Fellow, Radiobiology Department, National Commission of Atomic Energy, Argentina, 1986-90; Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Medicine, Uppsala University, Sweden. Associate Research Scientist, Eye Rad. & Environ. Res. Lab., Columbia University, 91/95; Sr. Res. Associate, NASA Beam Line Liaison Scientist, Biology Dept., BNL, 95/97; Assistant Scientist, NASA Beam Line Liaison Scientist, Biology Dept., BNL, 97/98; Assistant Scientist, NASA Liaison Scientist, Medical Department, BNL, 99/ 2000 – 2004; Associate Team Leader, Radiation Effects Team, NSBRI; Associate Scientist, NASA Liaison Scientist, Medical Department, BNL, 01/04; Scientist, NASA Liaison Scientist, Medical Department, BNL, 04/06; NSBRI/NASA Space Radiation Liaison, BNL, 04/06; NSBRI Space Radiation Liaison, Baylor College of Medicine, 06/08; NSBRI Senior Scientist, Baylor College of Medicine, 08/10; Member, Center of Space Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, 09/10; Associate Professor, Radiation Medicine Department, Loma Linda University Medical Center 10/present. Selected Publications: Guida P and Vazquez ME, Cytotoxic and cell cycle effects in human neuronal progenitor cells exposed to 1 GeV/n Fe ions, Advances in Space Research, Volume 39, Issue 6, Pages 1004-1010, 2007; Encinas JM, Vazquez ME, Switzer RC, Chamberland DW, Nick H, Levine HG, Scarpa PJ, Enikolopov G, Steindler DA. Quiescent adult neural stem cells are exceptionally sensitive to cosmic radiation. Exp Neurol. 2008 Mar; 210(1):274-9. Epub. Nov 17, 2007; Hienz, RD, Brady, JV, Gooden, VL, Vazquez, ME and Weed. MR, Neurobehavioral Effects of Head-only Gamma-Radiation Exposure in Rats, Radiation Res., 170, 292–298, 2008; Bandstra, ER, Thompson, RW, Nelson, GA, Judex, S, Cairns, A, Benton, R, Willey, S, Vazquez, ME, Carson, A and Bateman, TA, Musculoskeletal Changes in Mice from 20–50 cGy of Simulated Galactic Cosmic Rays, Radiation Res., 2009, 172, 21–29, 2009; Soucy KG, Kim HK, Benjo A, Santhanam L, Ryoo S, Shoukas AA, Vazquez ME, Berkowitz DE., Dietary Inhibition of Xanthine Oxidase Attenuates Radiation-Induced Endothelial Dysfunction in Rat Aorta, Journal of Applied Physiology, May;108(5):1250-8. Epub. Feb 18, 2010; Ponomarev AL, Sundaresan A, Vazquez ME, Guide P, Kim A, Cucinotta FA, A model of the effects of heavy ion radiation on human tissue, Advances in Space Research, Volume 47, Issue 1, 4 January 2011, Pages 37-48, 2011; Soucy KG, Kim HK, Benjo A, Santhanam L, Ryoo S, Shoukas AA, Vazquez ME, Berkowitz DE., HZE Iron-56 Irradiation Induces Endothelial Dysfunction in Rat Aorta: Role of Xanthine Oxidase, Radiation Res., 176, 4, 474-485, 2011.

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