Category Archives: G-Lab

Moon, Mars and issues of Gravity

October 26th 2017 Update: a pdf of President Gary’s slides from the ASGSR presentation is now available on the SSI G-Lab overview page!

SSI President Gary Hudson
SSI President Gary Hudson

A note from President Gary C Hudson:

To ascertain the effects of microgravity on the human body, Astronaut Scott Kelley spent a year on ISS while his twin remained on Earth to provide a control. The effects aren’t pretty, as he reports in his new book “Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery.”

Why did he do it? He notes:

“Our space agencies won’t be able to push out farther into space, to a destination like Mars, until we can learn more about how to strengthen the weakest links in the chain that make space flight possible: the human body and mind.”

But the unspoken message in his comment is that – with a bit of hard work and picking the right physical specimens for the job – maybe we can go to Mars and back, at the risk of some acceptable amount of permanent damage to the crew. But that’s not what SSI and the rest of the space settlement community needs to hear. Exploration is well and good, but only as prelude to settlement. Unless we build and operate something like our proposed SSI G-Lab, we can’t answer the larger biological question of how men and women, and their offspring, can hope to settle the space frontier.

-Gary C Hudson, President
Space Studies Institute


On Thursday October 26th, 2017 SSI President Gary C Hudson will be speaking at the 33rd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research in Seattle. President Gary is scheduled to be be taking the stage in Thursday afternoon’s ‘Enabling Tech III: Model Systems Research’ session. For more information on the ASGSR, click here.

For More information on SSI G-Lab, click here.

For a book teaser article written by Scott Kelly and released by the Brisbane Times  on October 6th, click here.

New G-Lab Program pages

“She had her fourth birthday last week,” Halvorsen answered proudly. “Children grow fast in this low gravity. But they don’t age so quickly – they’ll live longer than we do.”

Floyd stared in fascination at the self-assured little lady, noting the graceful carriage and the unusually delicate bone structure. “It’s nice to meet you again Diana,” he said. Then something – perhaps sheer curiosity, perhaps politeness – impelled him to add: “Would you like to go to Earth?”

Her eyes widened with astonishment; then she shook her head.

“It’s a nasty place; you hurt yourself when you fall down. Besides there are too many people.”

So here, Floyd told himself, is the first generation of the Spaceborn; there would be more of them in the years to come. Though there was sadness in this thought, there was also a great hope. When Earth was tamed and tranquil, and perhaps a little tired, there would still be scope for those who loved freedom, for the tough pioneers, the restless adventurers. But their tools would not be ax and gun and canoe and wagon; they would be nuclear power plant and plasma drive and hydroponic farm. The time was fast approaching when Earth, like all mothers, must say farewell to her children.”

- 2001, Chapter 10 “Clavius Base”

There is absolutely no proof that a gravity lower than Earth’s would do no more than alter bone structure making humans elegantly delicate and tall.

There is absolutely no proof that living in a lower gravity would make for longer lives.

Both ideas have been common in even the best science fiction forever, but there is no proof that either would actually be the case.

2001 is a great story, and above all Clarke’s Dr. Floyd paraphrasing Tsiolkovsky still has absolute merit; the Spaceborn will be coming eventually. It sure would be nice, though, if some space agency or company that says that it wants to help Humans live on planets with low gravities would start doing some actual research on generations of vertebrates before the first Spaceborn is on its inevitable way.

The cost to their entire program after just one child is born not quite right would likely be far, far higher than the cost of putting a multi-G test habitat in operation as early as possible.

This is the fundamental reason for SSI’s G-Lab Project.

For more information, please see the growing collection of resources on the new SSI G-Lab Program page.

[[March 29th update! just added to G-Lab: SSI SA Peter Diamandis on Reconsidering Artificial Gravity For Space Habitats!!]]

New on the SSI YouTube Channel: President Gary at the SVSC

SSI President Gary Hudson
SSI President Gary Hudson

Gravity: The Key to Life and Propulsion on The High Frontier.  Enabling Permanent Human Settlement On The High Frontier.

February 27th 2017 Space Studies Institute President Gary C Hudson spoke at the Silicon Valley Space Center/AIAA Tech Talk meeting in Santa Clara, California about two important SSI programs: G-Lab, the free flying reduced gravity spinner co-orbited with ISS and EPI, supporting fundamental R&D for true “Space Drives.”

It was a fascinating night and we hope that all SSI Associates will make the time to enjoy this video.

Many thanks to Dr. Sean Casey and Rick Kwan of the Silicon Valley Space Center, the AIAA-SF and the Santa Clara Hacker Dojo.

Links from the President. G-Lab and the Chinese embryos

SSI President Gary Hudson
SSI President Gary Hudson

Anyone who has been in a room with SSI President Gary Hudson over the past several years has heard about the absolute need for a G-Lab free-flying multiple-gravity testing habitat.

The SSI G-Lab, testing generations of vertibrates so as to finally gather information applicable to Humans in non-terrestrial gravities, must be a habitat situated for a relatively long period off of the Earth so that the effects of the planet’s 1G do not influence the data.

It should be a spin-system that allows the testing of various low gravities including the popular-culture goals of Mars (=~1/3rd) and the Moon (=~1/6th) plus a control Earth-normal and also the ability built into the fundamental design to test other various increments between those. That last point is important because a planetary surface is not the only place where a Human presence should be considered, and also because even transit “missions” such as to Mars will require the knowlege of just exactly what level of simulated gravity is best for the period of the trip – it may not be a full G.

The questions about this orbital laboratory typically include “Why does it have to be so big, can’t we get by with a small box?” and “Isn’t NASA or some other government agency already doing this testing?” and “Elon is going to Mars, he must be personally driven to invest in this research, right?” All good questions that are easily answered.

Over the past week another question has been starting to be asked: “Now that it has been proved that embryo development is possible in zero gravity, do we need a G-Lab?”

In case you haven’t seen the news, President Hudson advises you read these headline links:

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2016-04/17/content_24611016.htm

http://gizmodo.com/chinese-experiment-shows-mammal-embryos-can-develop-com-1771544732

http://www.express.co.uk/news/science/662126/LIFE-IN-SPACE-Scientists-develop-embryo-among-stars-in-planet-colonisation-breakthrough

This is very positive news, but even with independent confirmation the results of this experiment do not in any way take away from the need for G-Lab. We congratulate the scientists and engineers for being the first to publically reveal their doing this important research, but zero gravity/micro-gravity is not the only game in Space and conception is only the beginning. Related – but somewhat contradictory research – from Japanese scientists can be found at: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0006753.

Even though it took decades for a government space agency to do this particular obvious experiment, we have conducted decades of applied micro-gravity research. G-Lab is about testing *Reduced Gravity* through the entire life span of a vertebrate, or as President Hudson says:

“… I’d have expected this result. The blastocyst isn’t likely affected by low or zero G. No bones, no calcium metabolism to speak of. The issue is how the embryo develops into a fetus, and what happens after the pups are born and they develop to adults in partial G. That’s the key experiment that (to my knowledge) has never been done.”

And doing that work is what G-Lab is about.

For more information, including the answers to the questions above, please click this link.