Sunday, October 12, 2014

SiriusXM 'Doctor Radio' Discussion

I'll be on the "Doctor Radio" channel (#81) of SiriusXM with Dr. Doug Talk on Monday morning starting at 8am for a 30-minute segment on human stasis and challenges of going to Mars. The show is broadcast from NYU Medical Center and we will be talking with Dr. Ira Breite. Hope you join us!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Project News Coverage

I had a nice interview with the Wall Street Journal this week. Thanks to Monika Auger for the coverage:

         NASA Is Considering Deep Sleep for Human Mars Mission

There was also a nice video segment from Fox News yesterday:

         NASA studying humans rocketing to Mars in a deep sleep

With a follow-up interview from Fox News reporter James Rogers:

         How NASA crews could sleep for 6 months on the journey to Mars

Monday, September 29, 2014

Quick Updates

Two quick items:

1) One of the project engineers from SpaceWorks, Mark Schaffer, will be presenting on our work this week at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) 2014 Meeting in Toronto, Canada!

2) Here is an interesting article published this month on Slate (excerpted from the new book "Shocked: Adventures in Bringing Back the Recently Dead" by Dr. David Casarett):

Do Lemurs Hold the Secret to Suspended Animation?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Presentation and Paper at IAC

Mark Schaffer, from SpaceWorks, will be presenting a paper on the NIAC work at the 65th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) being held in Toronto, Canada from September 29th-October 3rd, 2014.

Program: A.5 Human Exploration of the Solar System, Session 2 Human Exploration of Mars.
Date/Time/Location: 2014-09-30, 14:45, Room 715A, Metro Toronto Convention Centre

Here is the program info link:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Science-Fiction Conventions

Looks like NASA is going to have an official presence at Comic Con in San Diego this year:

              NASA Landing at Comic-Con with Panel on Mars Plans

"Moderated by actor Seth Green, the panel will include (Buzz) Aldrin, NASA Planetary Science Division Director Jim Green, Jet Propulsion Laboratory systems engineer Bobak Ferdowsi, and NASA astronaut Mike Fincke."

I will also be speaking as an official guest of Dragon*Con in Atlanta again this year. 

             Dragon*Con Official Website
             Dragon*Con Guest List

D*C is the largest sci-fi convention in the southeast and draws over 60,000 attendees over the four day event Labor Day weekend. While there is over 3,500 hours of scheduled programming, it is not all make-believe fun. The Space and Science tracks host serious talks ranging from amateur astronomy, breakthrough physics, space commercialization, and the status of NASA science missions. I will have a presentation in the Space track on our NIAC project as well as a panel talk on the "Science of Star Wars".

Hope you see you in Atlanta!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Couple of News Articles

A couple of recent news articles on hibernation and information on the emergency cooling trials at UPMC in Pittsburgh:

              How to Freeze People and Bring Them Back to Life - The Atlantic

              The Hibernation Switch - Pacific Standard (we've been discussing the use of 5'AMP to augment TH)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Status Update

Sorry it has been a little while since I last posted. We have completed our Phase I final report and it should be available shortly for download… In the meantime, I will be posting some excerpts and summary items.

Great job to my team putting this document together! Particularly, Dr. Doug Talk (medical liaison), Mark Schaffer (project engineer), Liz Buchen (cost analyst), and Mark Elwood (technical illustrator).

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Artificial-Gravity Inducing Torpor Habitat!

Here is a view of our torpor-based, artificial gravity inducing Mars transfer habitat. This features all the same systems, technologies, crew complement (6), and margins as our baseline torpor habitat module - however - it is able to rotate about its main axis.

Depending on the rotation speed, gravity fields ranging from 0 to a full earth-G can be experienced by the crew. With the crew in torpor, we don't have to worry about uncomfortable gravity gradients and coriolis effects, so we can spin faster and with a much smaller radii than possible with a conscious/active crew. The total gross mass for the habitat is roughly the same as the baseline.

Nice job from Mark Elwood at SpaceWorks Studios for illustrating this option for us!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Project FAQ Document Released!

We have been compiling questions on the project that have been asked or we have received and put together formal responses for them. That document is now online!

   Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Please continue to submit questions to '' and we will continue to update the FAQ.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Concept Overview Briefing Released Online

We have posted the overview and status briefing from the 2014 NIAC Symposium last month online now. Check it out!

Concept Overview Presentation

Updates are also being posted on NASA's NIAC website:

NASA NIAC Torpor Project Webpage

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

New Prolonged TH Duration Record Found!

We have continued to research past medical case studies on therapeutic hypothermia, particularly looking for longer-duration treatment periods on people. To date, 7-days was the longest inducement period for a patient we had found. That is until now... We have found a Chinese research study published in 2000 in the Journal of Neurosurgery that included treatment periods of up to 14-days! Patients being maintained in a sub-cooled (33-35 deg-C), inactive state for two weeks.

This is cool news! In addition to nearly doubling the past record we had identified, the medical outcomes for these cases remained very positive.

Here are some stats from the report:

- Study monitored outcome of 87 patients with sever traumatic brain injury, with 43 receiving TH treatment for 3 to 14 days, and 44 assigned to "normo-thermia"
- After 1-year, the mortality rate was 45% for non-TH group and only 25% for TH recipients
- Rate of favorable outcome was only 27% for non-TH but over 46% for TH recipients.
- No neurological deficits or metabolic disorders encountered

Why is this important? Besides providing further evidence that we can sustain torpor in humans for lengthy time periods, we could still send the crew to Mars within this 14-day limit if we can not get the inducement period extended to the order of months. Our "sentinel protocol" would have each crew member on a 12-day torpor + 2-day wake cycle in route to Mars. For added safety and mission monitoring, we would rotate through the crew members such that only one was awake at a time. Their activity levels would still be generally low and our current DRA 5 habitat design could easily support a conscious crew member with the current volume and consumables margins. Our preference is still for the full-duration mission torpor, but this is potentially a very viable alternative!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Georgia Tech Student AIAA Meeting Talk

Went down to Georgia Tech to talk with the AIAA student chapter today. Good turnout, looked like 40 students or so attended. The original talk was scheduled for last week, but had to be delayed because of the Snow-mageddon that shut down all of Atlanta for the week.

Gave a short overview of SpaceWorks and then talked about NIAC project and status. Ended up with only a few minutes for one-on-one questions at the end as another class was starting up in the auditorium we were in.

Friday, February 7, 2014

NIAC 2014 Symposium Briefing!

Just wrapped up the NIAC 2014 Symposium at Stanford. Both Doug Talk, project medical consultant, and Mark Schaffer, project engineer at SpaceWorks, attended with me.

It was great opportunity to see all the Phase I and Phase IIs projects underway. All the presentations were broadcast live, and are now archived. At one point, they had over 5,000 viewers online.

Guest speakers included Jamie Hyneman of Mythbusters and Peter Norvig from Google (see pictures below).

Here's my team working away on our presentation the night before. We kept having to trim it back due to 20-minute time limit. 

We are putting some content back in the briefing that we did not get to cover previously. Will get the full presentation posted here shortly.

We received a lot of questions and eventually had to stop taking them so could keep to the schedule. Given this, I have been compiling questions we have received throughout the project and am currently putting together a project FAQ document. I hope to get that posted shortly and regularly update it. Please send me any questions in the meantime to incorporate!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Preview of the baseline zero-G habitat!

A quick preview of the baseline, zero-G habitat design...

This habitat, styled after ISS modules, contains everything the crew will need on a conjunction-class Mars mission (180 days out/back with contingency for failed surface trip). It is about a fraction of the total volume of the DRA 5.0 Mars TransHab and weighs less than half.

This is our baseline that fits within the rest of the DRA 5 architecture requirements and mission. We are currently working up an even smaller option to further reduce the mass and volume, as well as be more conducive to an artificial gravity environment (i.e. rotating). The DRA 5 approach does not employ an artificial gravity system.

Monday, January 27, 2014