Astronaut Discusses Science of Space Travel to Mars
An astronaut and physiologist who has logged 16 days and 6.4 million miles in space conducting neuroscience experiments addressing the effects of space travel on human health will speak at Alma College.
Jim Pawelczyk will present “What Price a Martian? Human Limits to Exploring the Red Planet” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27 in the Dow Science Center Room L-1.
Admission is free and open to the public.
In 1995, Pawelczyk was selected as a payload specialist for the Neurolab space shuttle mission and flew aboard STS-90 on the space shuttle Columbia in April and May of 1998. His experiments during the mission addressed changes in the nervous system, balance, blood pressure regulation, sleep and the control of movement during spaceflight.
“Dr. Pawelczyk is an internationally recognized physiologist who is best known for his work with neural control of circulation during spaceflight,” says John Davis, the Charles A Dana Professor of Integrative Physiology and Health Science. “He will speak about the science of sending a human to Mars. It will be a fascinating presentation by a scholar who has experienced firsthand the effects of spaceflight.”
A member of the physiology, kinesiology and medicine faculty at Pennsylvania State University since 1995, Pawelczyk has a Ph.D. in biology from the University of North Texas. Prior to Penn State, he taught and conducted research as a member of the cardiology and bioengineering faculty at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
His research focuses on the dynamic regulation of blood pressure and how disuse atrophy affects blood pressure regulation. Problems with moment-to-moment regulation of blood pressure lead to orthostatic intolerance, an inability to maintain adequate blood flow to the brain that affects as many as 500,000 Americans. The condition is routinely observed following spaceflight, which Dr. Pawelczyk has studied as a NASA funded investigator for the past six years.
Pawelczyk continues to assist with the formation of the U.S. space life sciences strategy. He has testified before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Science and Space and is an active member of the National Research Council’s Space Studies Board and the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Aerospace Medicine and Extreme Environments.
Posted: Mon, September 17th, 2012 at 5:02PM