[music playing] - so welcome to the 2015nasa ames summer series. space biology is importantfor many reasons. it informsour human-exploration missions. it informs astrobiology. it informs our life supportin space and it informs howwe function here on earth. most importantly,space biology is a science that looks at the mechanisms
of biology, or life. space biologyis also an integral part of nasa ames research. we would not be able to dothe science that we want to do, or advance it, without astronautsdoing the research in space. but astronauts aremore than just the people who do the experiments in space. they have a lifethat we could learn
and inspire to do and follow. today's talk, entitled "rats, folks, and jellyfish:studying life in space," will be given byastronaut dr. rhea seddon. rhea began her careerby receiving a degree-- a bachelors of artsin physiology-- from uc berkeley in 1970. she followed thatwith a medical degree-- an md degree--
from the university oftennessee college of medicine in 1973. after completing her degrees, she went and followedand did both an internship and a residency in surgery, completing the residencyin 1978, whereupon she joined nasaas an astronaut. she was oneof the first six women to enter the astronaut program.
she's a veteranof three shuttle missions-- sts-51-don discovery in 1985; sts-40,which also stands for sls-1, space life sciences 1, where she wasa mission specialist in 1991 on columbia; and then sts-58/sls-2, payload commander this time,on columbia. that's quite an achievement,
both being a doctorand astronaut, but she didn't stop there. so in 2010, she got a certificatein creative writing from the middletennessee state university. so you would think that,after all that, you would just retirefrom going to school. she finished that,and then put that into action and wrote a bookand published it.
so with that,please welcome me-- join me in welcomingastronaut dr. rhea seddon. [applause] - nicely done. thank you, dr. cohen. as you can tell,it's been an amazing life. and people say, "how in the world didyou go from this to that to this to that?"
and, you know, for me, it's interesting to ponder that, when you get to be my age, and you begin to thinkabout, "well, what happened thatmade me do those things?" i can rememberbeing a small girl in the backyardof a small town in tennessee, and my father said, "see?" and there was sputnik.
so even at 11 years old, i knew thatthat was the beginning of something awesomefor my generation. it was the beginningof the space age. and of course,there didn't seem to be any place for me in that. they weren't even flyinghumans yet. and even when they began to flyhumans, it was only men. it was only pilots--only test pilots.
but i was interested in science, and was fascinatedby the human body. and so,when i finished high school, i thought, "well,what is the best university in the united statesin the life sciences?" and it was this strange placecalled berkeley. now, i have never--i had never been to california. but i appliedand was accepted in 1965. and for those of youwho are old enough to remember,
that was an interesting year. that was the free speechmovement. and that morphedinto the anti-war movement and the people's park movementand free love and drugs. and there i wasin the middle of it. i sort of felt like-- later on, when i watchedthe movie "forrest gump"-- just kind of like, "here i am,"and "why am i here?" but i certainly gota good education at berkeley,
both in physiology and in life in general. but i was one of the few people at the timethat was majoring in science. women just didn't do that,particularly women that i knew. luckily, i had some good mentorsalong the way. but as i was finishingberkeley, you know, i thought, "i'd really liketo go to medical school." but you can imagine,
coming from tennessee, my first coupleof years at berkeley, i struggled to keep up with all of the restof the people who were pre-med. about a third of the classstarted as pre-med students, so there was a lotof competition. my grades weren't great. i joined the pre-med club, and the advisorkept saying, "you know,
if you don't bringyour grades up, you'll never be ableto get into school." and of course, gettinginto the california schools was close to impossibleunless you had a 3.98. when i appliedto medical school, i had a 3.25. my last two quarterswere straight as, and apparentlythat counted for something. and it certainly countedfor something at
the university of tennessee, where not too many students were applying from berkeley,as you can imagine, but berkeley hadsuch a great reputation. but they were not takingvery many women in medical school back then. it's hard for young women todayto realize that women were just not being takeninto those fields. but the university of tennessee,the year i applied,
decided that they were gonnatake a lot of women because there was a big pushto train more women doctors. so in a class of 100,they took six women. that was a lot. but, you know,it took hard work, it took dedication, and it took fitting inwith a group of men and learning to work with men and with male professors.
there were very few femaleprofessors. there were a lot of nursesthat helped along the way-- nurses who hoped that womenwould succeed in medicine. so i was fortunate to-- that that was partof my background, learning to workwith all kinds of people. my skills, my talents, my interestsfell into the world of surgery. and if it was strangeto have a woman doctor,
it was even strangerto have a woman surgeon. but i applied to the universityprogram and was accepted, and was the only woman they'd ever hadin the surgery program. but again, lots of hard work, lots of peoplewho wanted me to succeed. and i was successful in that. and so i was gonna gobe a rich surgeon, you know? that was my future, you know?
i loved it, and so that'swhat i was gonna do. one of the professors that i worked with said, "you should come outto my flying school. i have a flight school out here. you'd love to learn how to fly." and i thought, "i'm gonnabe like him and have a airplane when i'm a rich doctor." so i asked my fatherfor flying lessons,
and he gave me flying lessons, and i gotmy private pilot's license. and then, all of a sudden,rather serendipitously-- if you read my book, you'll seehow strange this was-- i found out that there was going to be a selectionfor space shuttle astronauts. well, people kind ofdidn't even know in 1977 what the space shuttlewas going to be. but i wrote for an application,
just to see whether or noti met all the criteria to apply, and i did. you had to be at leastfive feet tall, and i made that by two inches. and you had to bein good health. they perf--you had to havea bachelor's degree, preferably an advanced degree, and preferably experiencein your field. and they took my residency--
my four yearsof residency--as experience. i thought it was more school, but they thoughtit was experience. so i applied to the spaceprogram. lo and behold,in the summer of 1977, i was called to houstonfor an interview. and, um-- they were goingto interview 220 people, and in groups of 20.
and i asked, when they called, "well, howmany actual people applied?" if you countedall the military applications, there were 10,000 people. so i felt like, "man," you know, "if nothing more happens, i made the cut down to 220." went down to houston for a week,
and it was the first groupof mission specialists, or non-pilots,that were being interviewed. and so monday morningwas when my-- we went on sunday. we were gonna have a week ofinterviews and physical exams. my interview was scheduledfor 10:30 on monday morning. in looking back at the records,i was the first woman that they ever interviewedfor the astronaut program. the first two groupshad been all male pilots.
so that was an honor in itself. i made itthrough the physical exams, the psychologicaland psychiatric exams, the claustrophobia exam-- many, many different things-- and sort of went homewith lots of souvenirs, 'cause i figured, "i'm gonnahave souvenirs of this." well, you know, in january of 1978,the call came,
and said, "are youstill interested in this job?" and of course i was.i wasn't-- it was like coming to berkeley. i wasn't really surewhat i was getting into, but it sounded likethe most fascinating thing that a personcould do at the time. and so i joinedthe astronaut corps and started work with nasain july of 1978. so i'm gonna tell youa little bit about that.
in that class,they took 35 astronauts, and six of us were women. the women who had been interviewed all thoughtthat they would take one or two women, but not six. so we were delighted that there were the six of us. we were very different.
we came from different partsof the country. we had different backgrounds,all in science-- astrophysics, geology,engineering, biochemistry, medicine. but we formed a bond, as you can imagine. we were afraidthey were gonna wash us out, that they would put barriersin our way that would seethat we didn't get to succeed.
but we were willingto support each other and to go through this together, and it turned outthat we all had a chance to fly. so it was a great groupto be a part of. you can see i'm the runtof the litter. and, in fact,it wasn't as hard being female. it was really hard being little, 'cause there were a lotof things that nasa hadn't thought of--
couldn't accommodatea 5'2" female. the height requirement, i think,for the men, was 5'6". and so there was a lotof equipment that they forgot didn't fita 5'2"-- but, again, you work that out. for the first few yearsi was at nasa, the shuttle wasn't flying. remember, i was acceptedin 1978. the shuttle didn't flyuntil 1981.
but i was anxious,besides all of the training that i was going through, to get involvedin some of the life sciences and the medical operations-- experiments and teststhat were being done. and so i jumped at the chance of flying on the zero-g plane. this is a largecommercial airliner that's been cleaned out.
the inside is cleaned out,so it's an open space. it flies up and downlike a roller coaster. at the top of each parabola, you get 30 secondsof weightlessness. and so, if you can takeall of the things--the processes and the experimentsthat you want to do-- break them downinto 30-second segments, you can practicebeing in zero-g. and that was as closeas we could get,
while we were still hereon earth. so here we are,trying to develop a way to do cpr in weightlessness. for those of youwho've taken cpr, you know thatone of the things you have to doto pump the heart is, you have to put your weighton that chest to push the heart. how do you do thatin weightlessness? and so we were working that out.
it was lots of fun. it gave me the best experience i could get, at the time, of being weightless. luckily, i did pretty good jobsand was assigned to crews. this is sts-51-d. i'm proud to say the commanderof that flight, colonel bobko, is here today to watch, and he's gonna keep me straightif i say the wrong thing--
come up afterwards, and say, "your commander saysyou got that wrong." so, bo,i hope you enjoy the talk. here we are. we actually ended uptraining for-- we had four different crews in trainingfor four different flights-- had four different patches-- because our flights keptbeing cancelled or postponed.
but we eventually were ableto get off the ground in april of 1985. strange to thinkit was 30 years ago, bo. we haven't gottena day older, have we? we had a great time. it was primarily a flightto launch a couple of satellites and do some orbiter testing, but they did putsome science onboard for the scientists that we had.
here i am.this is weightlessness. it's a joy, but it takessome getting used to. and that's really what i'mgonna talk to you about today. i'm not gonna tell youall of the data results from all our tests and researchand our experiments. i'm gonna tell youabout the challenges of doing life-sciences researchin space. and that's one of the things that astronautsreally were there for,
was helping scientists translate what they had done in the lab into somethingthat could be done in flight. this is the american flightechocardiograph machine-- the first time that we were able to lookinside the human body, at the heart, using ultrasound to look at what happensto the heart and blood vessels when you go into weightlessness.
this is the middeckof the shuttle, and there were a numberof small middeck experiments that nasa put on board, mostly to lookat operational issues-- operational meaning things like your heart, your blood flow. and so this was an experimentthat was put on board for me, and that i had trained on a loton the ground
and thought i knewwhat i was doing until i set up the equipment. and you can seethe problem here. everything goes haywire. it won't lay down like it does here on the ground. you've got all the wires. you've gotyour equipment floating away. your checklist has to be tapedto the wall.
you have to get it all set up. and you have to get used to the factthat that's gonna happen. so this was great experiencefor me on my first flight. here we are,doing that experiment, and it almost looks likewe're standing on the ground, but we have our feetin foot loops on the floor to stabilize ourselves. here i am with jeff hoffman,looking at his heart.
you can tellhow tall and thin he is. his heart's right therefor me to look at. but lo and behold, his heartswung out a little bit. it was in a different placein weightlessness, and so i had to fisharound for it. but you can see we'rea little bit better organized. and the way you can tell thatthis picture was taken in space and not on the ground isthe bumper stickers in the back. we liked to advertiseour schools.
jeff went to amherst. i went to the universityof tennessee. and we tried, when wewere taking nice pictures, to bring back home,to slap those on the wall. we obviously didn't dothat in training. they do letyou take a few things with you when you go into space, just so it looks likeyou're really in flight. lots of good information
came back on four subjectsduring this flight. we even trained oneof our payload specialists to do some studieson motion sickness. this is senator jake garn. he's the first politicianin space. he was a senatorfrom the state of utah. a lot of controversyabout flying politicians, but jake got a lotof experience here. you can tellthat he was very suited
to doing the brainwave test,by his hairline. that's why we told him that thatwas the one he needed to do. but lookingat space motion sickness-- the press sort of had a heydaywith making jokes about poor jakedoing motion-sickness studies, getting sick in space. he's a pilot.he'd never been sick. but anyway, garry trudeaudid a series in "doonesbury" calling him"barfing jake garn."
and he did really well in space,barfing. but he certainly did a lotof work for us. and later on,in some of nasa's dark days, it was very helpful to have himrepresenting us in the congress. and he was very well-respected because he had been thereand done that. so here's jake. but you can seehe's got to put
all of his equipmentin a place, stabilize himself, in orderto get the good science. so it can be doneby private citizens, but it works a little bit betterwhen you do it with people who know the science. i was fortunate. about that time i was assigned toanother space-shuttle mission. it was calledspacelab life sciences 1.
the life-sciences spacelabswere not operational issues. they were research missions. and nasa sent out announcementsof opportunity to scientists all over the worldto propose science. lots of proposals came in. a few were selected for flight. certainly--i think even someof our experimenters and our research scientistsare here today to hear the talk. very complex mission--
an integrated mission-- the spacelab missions that had flown beforehad a little of this science, a little of that science. this was the first time a mission had been dedicatedentirely to life sciences. and so, we could testmany different systems and see what was going oninside the human body. doesn't help to lookat your heart
if you don't knowwhat your kidneys are doing, what yourblood-pressure-regulation system are doing, what'sgoing on with your metabolism. so it was a wonderful mission. it was the missionthat i came to nasa to fly. we had our crew picture done. we were three physiciansthere in the front row, and millie's a biochemist. she's from out this way--aninvaluable member of our crew.
and we're getting readyfor our flight. we're wearingthe big orange suits that were wornafter the challenger. this was in 1991. and we're all lookingvery formal in our-- in our attire,in our formal picture. the crews, of course,like to have a little fun. and in the not-nasa archives-- you will probably neversee this next picture,
but i'll show it to you. here we are goofing off. we decided we werethe perfect m.a.s.h. unit. you can seehawkeye and trapper john. you can see father mulcahy,hot lips. and being named rhea,i had to be radar, of course. and none of the men, for some reason, wanted to beklinger, the cross-dresser. and so drew gaffneydrew the short straw,
and he got to wear the dress. so we did have a little bitof fun with it. but it was a great crew. i'm gonna show you, for thesecond life-sciences mission-- i had gained a lotof experience on the first one. i volunteeredto make the second one because i thoughtwe could make it more efficient, and we had learned a lot about doingall of these science experiments
all clumped together-- how to coordinate everythingand make sure the data was good. and so i volunteeredfor this mission. it was the first timethat i had worked with ames, i think. they were in chargeof the non-human experiments-- the animals, the jellyfish, the things that we flewthat were not people. they were managed here.
and i got to know an awful lotof just great people out here, so anxious to be a partof this grand endeavor, and worked so hard to make sure that everythingthat we wanted to do got done. again, a great crew. we had three payload specialistcandidates that trained with us. one flew, dr. marty fettman-- the first veterinarian in space, because we were gonnacarry animals on the mission,
and it was helpfulto have him there to represent the animals. and dr. larry young and dr. jay buckey trainedwith us--didn't make the flight, but they were representing usin the payload control center on the ground,an invaluable resource. they had trained.they knew all the things we were gonna doand really represented the crew in the payload control center.
and, of course, we hadto have an informal picture. and we thought, "okay,what are we?" we are going to stay in space for longer thanany other mission had stayed. and we had so much crammedon board that we had to stow. we had to train on-- we had to know where it was. i mean, what did this feel like? well, it sort of feltlike a family camping trip.
so here are the happy campers. i hadn't realizedtill i looked at this picture how many hairy cheststhere were on this flight, but here we are having a goodtime with some of our science and some of our camping gear. but again,crews always enjoy having a little fun. and you train for so long, under such amount of stress,
that it's good to have a chanceto laugh every once in a while-- mostly at yourself. this is spacelab. spacelab wasa working laboratory that sat in the cargo bay-- at the back of the cargo bay-- about 15 feet in diameter, 23 feet long, and a working laboratory
where you could putall your lab stuff. the middeckof the shuttle--very cramped, and it's living quarters, so it was very helpfulto have lots and lots of room. and when you're on the ground,and you're looking at this, and everything is neatand put away, you think, "we've got lotsof room to do this." well, it fills up fast. and it fills upin many dimensions.
imagine if you-- if we in this room could use all the real estatethat's up above us. we're using maybe 1/3of the space in here. there's a lot more real estate. and that's what we hadto learn to do when we were in the spacelab. you see millie up here? we had lots of stowage.
we learned how to hook our feeton the handrails and open up this, and it was a great placeto stow. on the ground,it was kind of a pain to get stuff out of there, but in space, it worked well. lots of checklists, lots of things out that we needed to leave out,
'cause we were gonna dosomething later that day, lots of people back in there-- who's that? anybody know? looks terrible. not space motion sickness. that's resusci annie. we did some tests of doing cpr. remember the onethat i did early on?
we took resusci annie with us to do a little bit more formalstudies there. but again, learning to do itin a very different environment. the scientists know how to do itin their lab. they have no idea how they'regonna do it up there. and that's the roleof the astronauts. and that was part of the funthat we had-- trying to think about "howare we gonna do this?"
and "what's it gonna look like?" and "what are we gonna doif it doesn't act that way when we get there?" and figuring it outto get the job done. many, many experiments-- a lot of people counting on us. the scientists said,"you are our eyes and our hands in space,"and we took that responsibility very seriously.
just to show you,this is one blood draw. we did metabolic experiments. and we had four subjects, and we were gonna have to do--get up in the morning, before we ate breakfast, and draw blood samples. we'd injected tracers,and this is it all set out. we had trained. we had planned.
and we worked out that this wasthe most efficient way to put the most stuffin one small container, and here it is. this is four subjects. you can see,we all had different colors. you may not be able to see it, but the colors here-- they're red, orange, green, and purple, i think.
each crew memberhad a different color. so our tubes were color-coded,our-- everything was color-coded with our specific color, so that when it came back, weknew that that was ray's blood, or millie's blood,or somebody else's blood. so this was all laid out for us. and, you know,it looks complex. it was even complex
when you had to use this stuff. this is a blood drawusing that tray. and look what's going on here. millie's the subject. she's having her blooddrawn by drew. she's holding the bloodthat has been drawn already. he draws the bloodand hands it to her. jim is pulling out the tubesnext. he's looking at the colors,the time,
which one of the blooddraws is it, and hands it to drewto draw the blood. now, it's really helpful to have plenty of helpwhen you're doing this. the other thingthat's going on here that maybeis a little bit more subtle is, they can cross-check each other. if drew was tryingto pull those things out, he might pull the wrong thing.
but jim pulls out the tubes, he looks at them, and then drew,before he draws the blood, gets to look at them again. so that's called cross-checking, and it's really helpful-- certainly in medicine, for instance, if you're gonnaget a pint of blood-- that two peoplelook at that and cross check
and make sureyou're getting the right stuff. or if somebody's goingto operate on you, it's nice to have somebodythere that's gonna cross check to make sureyou're the right person, and the right procedure'sbeing done. so cross-check is oneof those things that's a very nice life skilland something that we learned how to do, so that we didn't mess upwhen we got to space.
i have to tell youa little story. as we're going outto the launch pad for this mission, the chiefof the astronaut office has to get off the busbefore we go out to the pad. and he said, "i would like youto all bow your heads so i can say a prayerbefore i get off the bus." and we all thought, "okay." we very somberly-- and his prayerwas the astronaut's prayer:
"god help youif you screw up." so we remembered that. for the next few days,that was our mission-- to do that. and scientists, when theypropose experiments, say, "this is really gonna be easy, because i justwant them to draw some blood and collect some urine." now, if you're part of
an experimentlike that on the ground, that's not a big deal. you go in the bathroom,you collect urine. how do you collect urinein space? many people don't know that-- you know, there's a problem with that,if it says--you can imagine. we use airflow to pull wasteaway from the body. the air comesunder the toilet seat,
and it pulls the urineinto the toilet. we have a funnelthat we can put-- that goes down the tube. how are you gonnaget a urine specimen? how are you gonna measurethe volume of urine that a subject puts outduring the day? a special piece of equipment was designed, calledthe urine monitoring system-- pulls the urine in,
centrifugally separates the urine from the air. it can measure a volume, and it can pull a specimenout here. we all had our color-coded tubesthat it was pulled into and put it in here. so a very simple thingto do on the ground, a very complex thingto do on orbit, and to do it correctly.
and so, again, science was easyfor some of the scientists, and they couldn't understandwhy it was gonna be so hard when they got into space. but there were things like thatthat had to be accommodated. how do you weighyourself in space? oh, you know, you tella subject, "go weigh yourself." this is how youweight yourself in space. this is the body massmeasuring device.
you sit in this chair,strap in, release a spring, and the heavier you are,the slower the spring rocks back and forth. the computercan calculate your weight. so, a simple thingdone on the ground, a very complex thingdone on orbit. and we had to learn how to dothis to do it accurately. and operationally, you know, youpractice things on the ground,
and then you get into space, and you can't quitedo them the same. this is looking at blood flowto the leg. there's a problemwhen astronauts stand up after they get home,sometimes they get lightheaded. the idea was, maybe the blood is not gettingback to the heart as well. so this is an experiment. usually, in this, the subject'slying down when you do that.
but look how much easierit is to do this here, and do it this way. but sometimes you have to do ita time or two to say, "hey, you know,it works better this way. i just put my subjectup there, and the operator'll be down herenext to all the equipment." works much better. so operationally, sometimes you have to notonly have different equipment,
but have a different way ofthinking about what's possible. we also--this is an experiment that put pressure or suction on the blood pressure censorsin the neck, to see whether or notthe heart responded-- whether that was oneof the problems with dropping blood pressurewhen you got back, if those reflexesgot out of shape.
but, as you can imagine, you have to worry about the safetyof experiments like this. you know, "i'm gonna mess withyour blood-pressure receptors, and it's gonna do somethingto your heart, and you're gonnahave to monitor"-- what do we do if youhave a bad reaction to that? so there was a lot of planningfor worst-case scenarios. you know, "what are we gonna do?
how will we recognize it?" and then, "how do we dealwith it, when we're in space?" luckily, nothing happened,but, again-- the exercise of provingto our safety organization that it was safe to do this. this is how we did exercisein space. and tell you a little bitabout that--we were wondering, "how much exercise could you do? what was your intake of oxygen,output of co2?"
you know, "what does thatlook like?" so here i am on a bike, but it looks a little odd. what is this? there's a similar oneon the other side. you can imagine,if you're sitting on a bike bolted to the floor, and you start pushingthe pedals, you're gonnago the opposite direction.
so you have to have somethingto hold you down. those are shoulder boardsthat hold you down to the bike, so you could do the exercise. one thing that we had notthought of for this experiment-- because you wentto maximal exercise. so the guys are there and, you know, they're big mooses. they're doing big-time exercise,
and they start to sweat. if you ever sweat on the bikein the gym, it goes on the floor, and you clean it up afterwards. where does it go? it blobs up. and here you are, you float by, and there's thisgiant blob of sweat
hanging off the backof this guy. so he had--we had to havehelpers to go around with a towel and keep the sweat in one place. another thingthat i'm often asked, especially by kids-- "you ever see any ufosor aliens in space?" and i said, "no, i haven't." but, quite frankly,
occasionally we catch them and see them in pictures. that's an alien. that's a crew member. he just kind of looks weirdin that picture. and people say, "what is that?" that's our alien. this is doinga lung-function test. dave wolf is breathingon this machine
to look athow your lungs function. again, easy to do on the ground, uses a gas called argon. there are other thingson there--gases, or liquids that turn to gas,like freon in the freezers. one of the thingsyou had to prove was that, if all that gas leaked out, it would not reacha dangerous concentration in the spacelab.
and so that was oneof the other things that we had to worry about. how little gas could you use? how to keep your subject safe-- this is a subjectdoing a vestibular test, rotating in the chair. but you can see,he's blindfolded. he's strapped in. if something happened--an emergency happened--
he gets disoriented doing this. how do we get himout of there safely? so thingsthat you frequently don't have to worry about on the ground, you have to think aboutwhen you get up there. jellyfish. the title of the talktalked about jellyfish. interesting that we tooksome flasks of jellyfish, we injected themwith hormones.
jellyfish startlike these little polyps. they get some thyroid hormone, and they strobilate. they turn into little sections. and they float free. and they form statolithsthat are kind of like the otolithsin your ear-- little stones that tell them where up and down areand whether they're moving.
the question is,did they develop them in space? and they did. that's obviouslyhardwired into the-- into their dna. they swam in circles up there, but they could swim just-- just nicelywhen they got back down. so a simple experiment, but it was fun to do, and funto watch the little jellies swimming in their little flasks.
we took animals into spacefor the first time-- lots of rats. they had flownin sealed containers before. this was the researchanimal holding facility, a massive projectby the ames folks. the first time the researchanimal holding facility flew, it didn't function very well. the airflow was not very good, and some of the air came out.
and when your commander is sitting up in the cockpit, and he looks up,and he says, "oh, shit," and that's what it is, because it's comeout of the animal cages, the people back in missioncontrol get a little freaky. and so the animal cageshad to be redesigned. we didn't think we would havethem for this mission, but because we were delayedby challenger, we--
they were redesigned in time. thank you,all you wonderful ames people that work so hard on this. we flew them on sls-1 as a test. we're pulling them out. we got a permission to pull themout of the holding facility. the animals were healthy. the cages were working well. we pulled them out,took them over to a workbench
to see how the animalsreacted to weightlessness. they didn't get aggressive. they were easy to handle. and that was a good thingfor sls-2, because we did animaldissections for the first time. and you can imagine-- if you remember your freshmanor sophomore biology class and dissecting a frogor dissecting an animal, imagine planningto do that in weightlessness.
a lot of stuffabout the animals themselves, the tissues that we had to save, the fixatives we hadto put them in, the instruments we had to use, the timeconstraints that we had-- and we practiced, and practiced,and practiced, and practiced, thanks to the amazing people here at ames that helpedus plan that and do that, put all the stowage for us. and they breathed a sighof relief
when we voiced down, "we did six animals, and we got all the tissuesthat we meant to." so it was amazing. we wanted to comparethe reaction of the rats in space to people, to see whether or not theywere good models for humans. so a very,very important part of what we were doingon this mission.
when we come backto earth, you know, you're above the atmospherewhen you start out, and when you enterthe earth's atmosphere and you hitall the air molecules, it heats up the shuttle. you have to be protectedfrom that heat. and this is what it looks like. and the folksat ames research center were in charge ofthe thermal protection system.
and we owe our livesto the people that designed this remarkable systemof insulating blankets, reinforced carbon-carbon, and all the tiles that fiton the bottom of the shuttle. and this is what it lookslike when you're in the midst of that fireball, and you realizehow much your life depends on that system. i'll read a little book--
a bit out of the book. "after a successfuldeorbit burn, the orbiter flipped over sothat its nose was forward again. the nose had to be cocked upabout 40 degrees, so the heat shield tileson the underbelly would get most of the heatingduring reentry. as we sank deeper and deeperinto the atmosphere, an orange glowbegan to appear out the windows. behind my head, heated airmolecules struck the tail
and created bright flashesof light on the backs of bryan and sid's helmets. we were in a thin-skinnedprotective cocoon in the midst of a fireball as hotas the surface of the sun. if there were any breaksin our vehicle's skin, we'd soon be incinerated." so you really think about the peoplewho are looking out for you and who have doneremarkable things like this.
and so, again,thank you to the ames folks. you always hopethat you have as many landings as you do take-offs. and i was fortunate that i did. this is my last landing. instead of getting outand kicking the tires, we had to move into a peoplemover to get back to the lab, because we had normal testingbefore we left, we were tested in flight,
and then they wanted to see how we adaptedto getting back to earth. so it was wonderful. what great experiences i had,and how fortunate i was to be able to doall these rather unusual things. i wanted to capturethose things. i put them down in a book. it's not a great workof literature, but it is a simple story
of what it's like to go frombeing a little girl in tennessee to getting to go to space-- and having kids along the way, marrying a fellow astronaut, getting to bean astronaut's spouse, and doing great things. the logo on the leftis the astronaut symbol, slightly modified, and it is my--the logo for my book.
so, again,i appreciate your being here, and we'll do some questionsand answers, if we have time. - yes. - all right. - thank you, rhea. if you have a question, please raise your hand, waitfor a microphone to come to you, and ask your question.
and then return the microphone. thank you. - thank you, dr. seddon, on behalf of the astronauts and womenand kids of all ages. you really are quitethe inspiration. i didn't have a question, but i just wantedto congratulate you on your induction
into theastronaut hall of fame 2015. - thank you so much, yvonne-- appreciate that. - it was quite an honor. you know, i heard a talkrecently by an astronaut scholar who talked about the valueof recognition. you know, when you thinkyou're doing a pretty good job, you're not really sure until somebody rewards youin some way
or mentions you in some way. so i always try to rememberthat, to tell people how muchwe appreciate the things that they've done for us. other questions? - you talked a little bitabout some things that are more complicatedin space than they are on earth. is there any one thing that scientists usuallyfail to think about
when they're thinkingabout space experiments, or something that you thoughtwas interesting? - hmm. i guess, you know, one of the easiest thingsto do in space is to-- is to move around, 'cause you fly everywhere. and so gettingfrom place to place is relatively easy.
so it's easy to do that. i guess one of the thingsthat the scientists often forget on complicated missionslike this is that you have-- you have four subjects. you have lots of experiments. and they have to share. they have to coordinatewith other scientists. and frequently, that's a bitof a leap for them.
they're usedto doing their science. and you have to-- you have to workto put everything together. certain experimentscan't be done back-to-back. and that integrationis sometimes difficult and requires a lot of coordinating and compromising, and so i think that's oneof the things that make--
made it a little difficult. as the payload commanderof my third flight, i got a chanceto help with doing that. and i think we, you know,we built a great team, and we all wanted to helpeach other out, and so, making that work was one of the morecomplicated things. people are--scientists are usedto doing their science, and their lab,and having all the time.
- hi, dr. seddon.thank you for your talk today. a good number of us got to workwith bob phillips, in the years after sls-1. and so he passed a coupleof years ago. i'm wonderingif you have a good memory that you might share with us, of something that--sincehe ultimately didn't get to fly, but i know he served as capcomon the mission, but-- - bob phillips
was a veterinarianwho trained with us for sls-1-- a wonderful, wonderful guy. and we just loved him. he developed a health problemduring our training that made himineligible for flight. and we wanted to remember himin a way-- we couldn't put his nameon our-- our crew patch, and that was unfortunate.
we felt--we felthe should be remembered. he represented us in-- in the payload operationscontrol center. do you see the p? p for phillips-- so we were happyto be able to do that, and i think it was specialfor him. and, you know, he lived many, many yearswith that health problem--
and probably wouldn't haveaffected his being in flight. but we were sorryhe didn't get to go, but he was so excitedabout the mission itself. so thank you for mentioning bob.wonderful guy. - you have beensuch a trailblazer and accomplished so muchin your life. what is your next goal? - i mentioned that i had married a fellow astronaut--
captain hoot gibson,a pilot astronaut. he commandedfour shuttle missions. he flew as the co-piloton his first one. i would loveto write his book. it isa totally different book. it's the pilot's side of things. but, just as i served ashis spouse during his missions, he served as my spouseduring my missions, and has many funny storiesabout it.
bo can tell youthat he's quite a character. one of his flightswas known as swine flight. they--if you read the book, they all snortedat pretty girls. of course,that wasn't politically correct, but they did it anyway, and so they were knownin the office as swine flight. but they--he made it fun. and, as i mentioned,
if you can have a crewget together and have fun in the midst of all this stress,it's wonderful. so i think that's my next one. i'm hoping thathe'll let me do it. i learned a lotby doing this first one. we have a questiondown here? have you got oneback there? - hi, thank you very muchfor the talk. in the cramped conditionsof the middeck and the spacelab,
how did you avoid--or what werethe countermeasures in place-- to not, like, bump into a switch or snag on a wireor something like that? and did you evermess up an experiment because of something like that? - i'd like to think we didn't. and probably--probably someone has. the important switchesare guarded. there are little thingsaround each switch.
and the ones that are critical--the ones up on the flight deck above the captain,the commander, and the pilot's seat-- all have guardsdown over them. so, in order toactivate them, you have to lift the guardto move the switch. occasionally, thingsgot kicked or bumped. everything was made very sturdy. the plugs that we plugged in
were super heavy-duty, and had to be screwedand locked in. but it was one of those thingsthat you had to worry about. you couldn't justgo flying around. and you learnedhow to move smoothly and gently, and watch things. i think there was probably-- we went back in the labto play around one day and took some pictures,
you know,of off-hours with astronauts, and were goofing around. and when we were done, there was an experimentthat had been turned off. and we probably kicked somethingin that area. we'll never know. but i can't thinkof any major catastrophes-- things thatwere broken or not. everything had to besuper strong to deal--you know,
to keep the safety people happy. not a lot of glass to break, or thingsthat were too delicate. so we had to-- we had to worry about it. one down here. - did you--you did a lot of experiments relatedto weightlessness. did you do any experimentsrelated to space radiation?
- space radiation-- it's kind of one of those things that we worry about for going into interplanetary space,to mars. and i don't thinkwe have all the answers to that. we did wear radiation monitors. and so, you know, we made sure that at least,when we got back, they could tell us that wehadn't had a lot of radiation.
it was interesting--on sls-1, we got back and we weresaying hello to everybody-- somebody said, "could you feel that--that sunburst?" that--those sun things-- whatever it was that was-- you know, they'd had a--had a solar flare. "could you feelthe solar flare? " and we were going,
"what solar flare?" and i guess the folksin mission control decided that itwasn't gonna be a problem. they didn't eventell us about it, but-- and i don't think the radiation that we hadwas that much higher. i know that they-- that we go back to nasaevery year for physical exams, and they watch astronauts
to see if there are any untowardeffects that they can-- they can saywere caused by radiation. but no, i didn't do anyof the radiation experiments. i liked life sciences instead. how we doing? - good. - hi, thank youfor the talk today. my question is, what was going through your mindon your very first mission,
right after the solid rocketboosters ignited and liftoff occurred, and you realizedthat you were going to space? - my first thought was,"we blew up." [laughter] - you're sittingon the launch pad, and you're looking at the sky. and, of course,you're very worried about whether you're reallygonna get to go or not.
and bo can tell you that,until the very last of our launch windowthey said, "hey, hey, commander, you know, what's the best way to getthis thing off the ground?" and bo said, "i thinkyou could pick up the count." and he said, "okay, in 30 seconds. t-minus nine minutesand counting." so it was, you know,
it was just kind of like,"oh, we really are going today." we had decided we weren't going. and you're sitting there, and you--and the--when the main engines start, the tip of the topof the shuttle rocks back. and so you can seethe launch tower, and you can seethat you're rocking back, and you know,when you come to upright, the boosters are gonna ignite.
and there's no way for anybody to tell youwhat that's gonna be like. there's no simulatorthat simulates that. it really, reallyfeels like an explosion. and i was looking at my handsin my lap, and thought, "i'm gonnawatch my body disintegrate." and luckily, i wason the flight deck, and i could lookat the computer screens and see that we were still goingin the right direction.
but the ride on the boostersis just incredible-- lots of noise, vibration,acceleration. and that first launch, i think you're--there's nothingthat can prepare you for that, other than somebody telling you it's gonna be somethinglike you've never felt before. my husband describes it like it's a catapultoff a carrier-- you know, just an--all of a sudden jerk--
but yeah, you have to-- you have to be willingto take that risk and be ready to go. in the back.- hi. so my question is,when you were-- you were talking about,when you were a young girl, you had a lot of peoplebelieve in you and propelling you forward--mentors and things like that. so i'm wondering, you know,what was it that
made them believe in youand want to do that? and, like, what young--or, what advice would you have foryoung women who are, you know,have these sorts of dreams and want to be pioneers today? - well, you know, back then, there were just certain thingsthat women were supposed to do, certainly in the south. but luckily, my parentshad some friends,
a couple of women doctors. and they told me, you know, "you can do itif you want to do it." i had a fatherwho was very supportive. you know,"of course you can do that." there were a lot of dadsthat said, "ladies don't do that" or "girls don't do that." and so i had a lotof support at home.
but there were just thingsthat i wanted to do, and i was gonna try to do them. i always had a back-up plan. if i--if that wasn't gonna work,i'd try something different. but as i went along, luckily, i met enough peoplewho told me i could do it-- a few people who,in subtle ways, told me i couldn't do it. but, when you wantto do something passionately,
and you want--you want to try to do it, it doesn't hurt to try. and that'swhat i tell young women. follow your dreams. reach for thingsthat have never done before. don't be afraid to go first. 'cause if you really want to doit, you'll figure out a way. or you'll figure out a wayto do something similar. so, you know, i encourage womenwho have achieved
to please tell young womenthat they can do this, that they can do that, that they can do what you do. they can dowhat you wanted to do but couldn't at the time.i was fortunate. i was in the right placeat the right time, and so i thinki was lucky in many ways. the good lord looked out for me,i guess. - thank you for sharingyour experiences with us.
i think a lotof the vital-- vital information on the effectsof weightlessness on humans has been researchedfor many years-- you know, every single--every single mission. and i think that a lot of the--a lot of the new things-- while those, you know, macro-scale experimentsare still occurring, and should still occur,
a lot of the current experimentsare more molecular. where do you see physiologicalexperiments going in the future? where do you want to wantto see us head in biological research? - you know, i thinkthat there are so many things that we could study. molecular biologyis certainly one of them. i think it's gonna take nasadeveloping the equipment to allow us to do thatand putting crews big enough,
with enough training,up there to be able to do that. those of us who workedwith the animals on sls-1 and 2 were very disappointed when the animal holding cagesand workstations were defunded for station. they're doinga little bit of it, but not with the reallysophisticated equipment that we were ableto use on spacelab. so i think there are many,many things
that could be proposed and done. i think that there are animalsthat would be good models. we can use centrifuges. we can, you know, put more sophisticated equipment for molecular biology up there-- many, many thingsthat we can do. it just depends on the fundingand the will to do it. i will mention that--
something that you saidmade me think about it. a lot of the science that have been done on humans have been done on men. and on these two flights,we had men and women. and we compared the data, and men and women adaptto weightlessness just the same, so we've answered that question. i'm sure there will besubtle differences
that someonewill be able to find out, but the major thingswere the same. rats are good modelsfor some systems and not others. certainly cellswould be wonderful-- to be able to take up cells and--and do studies on themwithout having to fly rats. but it's a brave new worldout there, but we have the ideas. i think we have the technology.
we just have to have the fundingto make it happen. - as the commanderon rhea's first flight, i had some concern that we had one woman and six guys on board. well, with a strong,professional woman like rhea, those were about the right odds. - thank you, bo. - luckily, my first commanderwas a supporter and was always encouraging,
and there were no majorproblems, were there? we had a good time too. always great to havea good commander. - so please join mein thanking astronaut dr. rhea seddonfor an excellent talk. thank you very much. - thank you so much. - thank you.thank you. [musical tones][electronic sounds of data]