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This is a new way. From radio and television. We are all of us newly arrived in the age of space and we have come so quickly swirling about us are powerful influences likely to have upon our lives the most prodigiously impact known to mankind in the last 500 years. Yet we can barely grasp the magnitude of these social forces. We can only guess at their meaning. What does it signify for us to live in a world of such a suddenly extended proportion. Toward the answer. Radio television. The University of Texas has prepared this recorded radio series produced under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational
broadcasters. We present demand news and now here is our moderator. Roderick Meyer. Today with the help of Lieutenant Colonel George R. Stein camp and Doctor Who Berta struggled. We're going to look at some of the medical aspects of the space age. Both of these men are physicians primarily engrossed with space medicine. That branch of medicine or medical field of astronautics which studies the human factors involved in spaceflight and which develops methods for man's survival in space and on other celestial bodies the moon say or the planet Mars to tell us of the activities now taking place on its amazing frontier. Here is Dr. George R. Stein camp a lieutenant colonel formerly chief of the department of space medicine for the United States Air Force and now the Air Force medical liaison officer for our Federal Aviation Agency. About two years ago when we were faced with an awful lot of
publicity as some of you may remember we started suddenly getting an awful lot of fan mail. While this fan mail took all types of forms but to me one of the most typical and one of the most challenging and one of the most interesting pieces of correspondence that we had came on a two cent postal card. If you can recall back at that time we had to send postal rates. This card was mailed from a small rural community. And I have a mental picture I don't ever want to go visit it because I don't want to destroy it but I can see a farm wife probably sitting down over a cup of coffee in the morning reading suddenly in the newspapers all these headlines about space medicine. And it moved her to sit down and write me a card. And she said Dear Dr. Stein camp and the entire message was this what in the world is all this stuff about space. Please reply
immediately. And incidentally her name was Smith. I have been trying to answer mss in this problem for quite a long time and what I'm going to do this evening is to try to give you a little concept of what we actually are doing and where we do stand on some aspects of space medicine. Now first of all you have to have several concepts and I would like to develop these for you first. First of all we have to realize that space medicine is actually an extension of abnegation medicine which has been in existence for well over 40 years now. As we extend our front tier into what General bends than our commandant has labeled the vertical frontier we suddenly find ourselves with new problems in actually avocation medicine
and we define them now by space medicine they department that I am the head of it is astral ecology. Well Astro ecology is one of the words that we have been forced by the very nature of our work to coing because we have suddenly discovered that in the space age we don't have. Actually old words that we can apply to the new situation in which we find ourselves. So all you have to do is to break down the word Astro pertaining to the planets and the stars and ecology. When we look around our own world here for example we have sunlight. We have trees we have grass we have water we have animals all of which work in conjunction with each other within our own atmosphere. Some utilizing oxygen some utilizing carbon dioxide and various things like this.
And this balance of life that we know here on our planet is what we call our cover gene. This is the world in which we live. So in our particular department we are concerned with finding out what to do about a man after he leaves this particular atmosphere and we know certain of the conditions that he will face in outer space. Now. There Ian comes the next comes sept that you must realize when you are thinking about these particular problems. This is a concept that was developed by Dr. Stu Cole many times. If we have a true concept of what we are looking at we frequently have better value than if we tried to do some experimental work. And out of that came his concept that we call space equivalence. Now is rather shocking thing to
realize that after you pass. 10000 feet in this vertical frontier you have already arrived at a situation in which there are insufficient oxygen molecules to support life as you know it here on the ground. So consequently in avocation medicine we have learned that we have to begin giving acids and so literally speaking we can already start off at a barely two miles away and we can say we have a space equivalent condition as far as oxygen is concerned. By the time we reach around 75000 to 80000 feet we are in an area of lowered pressure which has a very definitive effect on the body. Also after about 75 to 80 thousand feet we are in the ozone layer of our atmosphere and if we were using compressors and sucked in the
ozone it would reach such proportions that it would kill the human being. Now after we see that we cannot use compressors after we see the various things that are deterrents to flying outside of our atmosphere then we come down to the fact that after about a hundred thousand feet or so we come to the one major concept of space equivalence and that is that man must have his own at college with him. He has to carry his world with him in a hermetically sealed cabin that prevents the data drastic effects of the outer atmosphere from disturbing his body. Now since he will be flying in outer space and he cannot stop in at the summer's drugstore and pick up a coke or anything like this. Everything that this man takes with him has
to be of use to him and has to be definitely a life support element. And this is the thing that we have a major concern in as far as a School of Aviation Medicine and our research program. So this is the thing that I'm going to cover a couple of years ago realizing the space equivalent condition of a hermetically sealed cabin. We went to the design engineers of all of the major aircraft corporations and we sat and discussed with them at great length just what do you do to build this type of thing. But they had ideas we had ideas. We finally came up with the idea that for example at the present time and for quite some years in advance it can be estimated that rocket propulsion will be of such a nature that we cannot just send up a million pounds so I can't build a million pounds of building and send it
up. So consequently they said to us that in the beginning. If we build a small capsule that is stressed at what we call a half an atmosphere are approximately 18000 feet then it will be structurally feasible and weight wise it will be feasible to launch such a vehicle. Well as in all things beginnings are small. First we can expect that a man would go up a mile and then he would go for a short trip. So consequently we started in on some experimentation and we had ourselves built a very small cabin. To find out in the static situation of the laboratory. Many of the human parameters that are involved in isolating a man from his normal environment cutting him off from the world so to speak making him responsible
for taking care of his own life support. While working out a half an atmosphere at 18000 feet soon it would be a known fact that the man would lose consciousness because there would not be sufficient oxygen. So one of the first things we had to do was sit down and design a new atmosphere for this man. Consequently we are working now using instead of our normal 20 to 21 percent of oxygen here at ground level. We are using 40 to 42 percent oxygen and in this way the man can sit inside of a capsule and he will not have to use an oxygen mask. Well we had in B no true sealed cabin anywhere in the world. We got engineers we got everybody and we just sat down and went to work and we took this small cabin and we made a seal that is so feasible
that we lose barely one thousandth of a millimeter of mercury in any one hour period of time. And this is about as near her medically sealed cabin as you can get. So we started then looking forward to the future that all right this man can tolerate slipping around for a couple of turns around the earth and come back in and this is only a few hours. Fine I mean they do prolong the sions anyway and the aircraft all over the place but too confining this man to this very small capsule to give him everything that he needs and then to send him on a projected long journey. This was the problem and this is why we designed our experimentation along these lines. Consequently we looked at it from the standpoint of the man who's going to be isolated What will the effects of isolation be on him as a human being
psychologically. The design engineers also told us that in their estimation almost all of the actual gadgetry as far as running this cabin is concerned would be by automation. However the one thing that the human being could do in a manned system of this type was to take information as it is displayed and then coordinated and then through the process of thinking make a decision to correct or to do something else. Consequently we decided that this man had to do some type of work. So we designed special instrumentation which would give him a presentation of certain problems that he would have to solve by pushing a button by arranging dials and firing line discrimination. All of these types of things and certain problem solving
devices. So then we looked at it again if it's going to be a fairly long period of flight. How can we keep this man at his most efficient peak because he's going to be in a situation in which he does not have the ordinary day and night cycle that we know here. So we had to find out how we could break through this normal rhythm that the human being have. Consequently we put him on work schedules. But we also put him on a work schedule in the midnight hours when he News Lee is devoting that time to sleep to find out how quickly he could adjust to this and remain as an effective complement in the weapons system. This was the thing that we were mainly interested in at that particular time and added onto it all of the stresses he had to control his atmospheres he had to see that carbon
dioxide was absorbed properly. He had to do all kinds of other things he had to take care of his physical body his personal hygiene to shave and eat and drink and do all of these things but still do it within the confines of a very very small area psychologically of course in our background we had had many experiments designed to show where the break off point as far as fatigue was concerned as far as the human ability to perform. And we discovered in many of the writings and previous experimentation that after about two to three days exposure to this type of environment proficiency dropped literally to nothing. That is why we chose and added extra four days to find out if this man could recognize his deficiencies. And then through his personal abilities his
morale and his own initiative adapt himself to overcome the effects of fatigue. So this is what the what we have done this was the type of thing that the Farrelly experiment was we have done many since then we have found a very very interesting thing that when we take young subjects and this is no reflection on young people per say. People who have not had long disciplined training they are unable to adapt to these types of situations. However when we move them up into beyond the 30 year class. And if they have as we are utilizing now people who have more than 12 years of flying experience for example more than three to 4000 hours in a flight situation. The discipline and the personal discipline that is required of emergency situations that you have to handle
in aircraft. These people do adapt and they adapt very rapidly and they become completely effective. So it has led us to make the statement. In the public press and in our writing it's that we feel that people similar to the seven astronauts for example who were chosen are of the type who will be the first flyers manned used by nature and extremely adaptable creature and he is eminently qualified by the very nature of his thinking processes and his motivation and his person abilities to act as a part of a manned vehicle system in outer space with Dr. George R. Stein Kemp former chief of the department of space medicine for the United States Air Force and now the Air Force medical liaison officer of the Federal Aviation Agency. We have explored some of the problems being met and the progress being made today in the
field of space medicine. It is only natural to wonder just what significance these have for those of us who are not astronauts and who do not necessarily contemplate space flight. We took our questions to Doctor Who brought a strict hold of the United States Air Force Aerospace Medical Center at Brooks Air Force Base in Texas. One of the pioneers in space medicine and a world authority in this field. He is the first man anywhere to be accorded the title professor of space medicine. Doctors struggle to do the developments being made in space medicine as we've described them here also have a real impact on medicine and medical research in general. Yes I think space medicine is not only of importance to the development of manned space flight. It will have a considerable impact upon medicine in general with a yet to a great
number of research. And yes and thank God I think that people tend to think of space and space medicine as something which never will affect them. And yet we come to some things that are really quite common to us if we stop think about them and and one of them is is gravity and the effect that and what we're learning in the study of space medicine. Yes it's a fact of gravity has been the topic off done safe and extensive research during the past 10 or even 20 years. First we're dealing with increased gravity during the launching and during at most getting very empty. As studies of this kind have been made on latch centrifuges and also on a slide the results of these studies are not only of interest for this specific space medical
problems during launching and re entry they will have also some value for the analysis of mechanical injuries and for the protection in all kinds of acts accidentals on the earth's surface. Now this increase of special interest and almost unique is the state of sea or gravity which is associated with the phenomenon of weightlessness. This is a completely new experience but again we learn something about this with react to circulation. If we eliminate gravity completely and then we learn more about the whole coordination of our reflexes during Bocking. When we take away get everybody so we have
well it will increase our knowledge considerably if you offer neural physiology Speaking of walking. I'm Dr. Stuart Hall before we go on. I think that it's it's interesting that we we don't think of gravity very much and yet this is the problem that the baby is struggling with is it not at all. Yes doings of Christ to earth and us is the only fact that with the bit with which the baby has to deal with gravity well shall we go on to another factor. Dr. Stuart hold that of. Atmosphere and the development of an artificial atmosphere in space flight. Yes. And now the fact is the atmosphere now in space there is no atmosphere. Now we study what does the atmosphere for us. We learn more about it we understand better the life supporting precious function of the atmosphere. We understand better the life predicting
the function of our nature must be afforded. We are protected from a cosmic rays by the utmost Yeah we also protect it from the sun by producing a bite of the violet. So we understand much better the various functions of our natural atmosphere now in space there is no atmosphere so we have to provide current and up the atmosphere in a sealed cabin in a space cabin. This isn't synthetic atmosphere. We study what is the best. We examine what is the best what is the best percentage of oxygen and of carbon dioxide. We must know with a minimum of oxygen pressure and the maximum of oxygen pressure. We can tolerate. This
is again of some interest for patients which have to stay for several days and an oxygen tent. We study the comfortable limits concerning your method and temperature and so on. All of this is off great benefit for medicine and biology in general. We speak of oxygen and it brings us to something that we laymen do not ordinarily think of in terms of medicine and that is photosynthesis which is more directly connected to the botanist. Yes in extended space operations over long a period of time let's say a lot less than two or three months. We must resort to recycling off all of the vital necessity in this space given just the same as we observe this in the very nature of the process or for the synthesis. And does the big show of our medical
research. We understand now better the whole planned life plays in our life. We get an better idea about the Condit anti-free relationship between their responded don't require ments of a man and the photosynthetic production of oxygen by plants. This makes but I need much more interest. Interesting for the student of medicine and also for everybody. Well Dr. Stork called I think that all of these things that you're mentioning can do nothing but point up the complexity of what is being studied in space medicine and the number of factors that we just don't think about in our our day to day living we go to another one now that a radiation which is very important in the study of space medicine has it not. Yes in this respect specially important as the opposite a lot of us are there but I think they're also usually
called the Cosmic Rays the study of the biological effect of these are cosmic rays upon that gets you in out of high altitude balloons has already considerably increased our knowledge about the microscopic picture of the impact of these eye on icing ideations SB calls them. Now it was a fun Allen's discovery. Off to a radiation better its surroundings yours which consist of protons and electrons which may put you in the cabin penetrating the cabins harbor x rays forces us to snap a big research program that these are the sides or that the resurgence of these are studies which are concentrated upon the mechanism of the biological effect
shielding them miscible doses and so on. Out of interest for every physician especially those of which I concerned with the treatment of cancer and so on does not need to be emphasized. There is no question that space medicine will not only make its contribution to the realisation of its proper goal. Namely manned space flight. I think these examples which we haven't discussed yet in this interview. We'll also be of benefit to medicine and biology on as in general. That means there will be a benefit to all mankind. That was Doctor Who Berta Strughold professor of space medicine at the Aerospace Medical
Center wrote their forest Base Texas discussing the implications which advances in space medicine have for our medical welfare in general. Earlier in the program Dr. George R. Stein Camm former chief of the Air Force's department of space medicine now the Air Force medical liaison officer for the Federal Aviation Agency told us some of the problem seeking solution in space medicine research these medical aspects are but one vital factor in the complex and rapidly expanding dimensions of a new age. Next week at this time our program reflects the challenges and the changes which this demanding age poses for our school. Professor Robert L. Housman executive officer of the department of astronautics an aeronautics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Mr. Richard Batchelder president of the department of classroom teachers for the National Education Association and Dr. Harry AIDS ransom president of the University of Texas.
Well look at education in the age of space these programs were produced and directed by Roderick the Reich Meyer who serves as moderator who are Nader and writer Mary D Benjamin. The series was under the supervision of Robert F. Shanker. Jim Moret speaking. With the. Dimensions of a new age was produced and recorded by radio television. The University of Texas under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the Radio Network.
Dimensions of a new age
Medical aspects
Producing Organization
University of Texas
KUT (Radio station : Austin, Tex.)
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program discusses the medical aspects of the space age.
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This series explores the new developments and challenges that have emerged in the wake of the "space age" that occurred in the mid-20th century.
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Director: Rightmyer, Roderick D.
Host: Grauer, Ben
Producing Organization: University of Texas
Producing Organization: KUT (Radio station : Austin, Tex.)
Speaker: Steinkamp, George R.
Speaker: Strughold, Hubertus, 1898-1986
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 60-56-2 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:24
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Chicago: “Dimensions of a new age; Medical aspects,” 1960-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 8, 2023,
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APA: Dimensions of a new age; Medical aspects. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from