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This Week On The Space Show

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Mon Dec 18, 2017 4:02 am
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The Space Show, hosted by David Livingston at www.TheSpaceShow.com, will have the following guests this week:

1. Monday, December 18, 2017, 2-3:30 PM PST (22-23:30 GMT)
Dr. Valerie Martindale and Dr. John Jurist as guests today.



Dr. Valerie Martindale is the current President of the Aerospace Medicine and Human Performane Organization.  In addition, she is the former chief scientist for the 711 Human Performance Wing of the Air Force Human Performance Integration Directorate who retired from the Air Force after 22 years as an aerospace physiologist, now works for ARL’s Army Research Office and took on her role about nine months ago, when the opportunity to represent ARL on an international scale came across her desk.

Martindale officially arrived in Japan in April.

“I had the great good fortune while on active duty in the U.S. Air Force to have a very similar position in London, so I knew what the job entailed, knew I was qualified, and knew that I would enjoy the travel and the exposure to a wide variety of scientific research,” Martindale said. “I also knew that it would be a good fit for my family, which is important.”

This opportunity for Martindale stemmed from seven positions that were created by ARL to further define and explore research areas critical for the future technical dominance of the U.S. Army.

The positions created complement the missions of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command organizations RDECOM-Pacific, RDECOM-Americas and RDECOM-Atlantic, which include searching for state-of-the-art science and technology for Soldiers and theater security cooperation.

These organizations focus on gathering and reporting information, and ARL/ARO’s international program funds leading international researchers in collaborative and partnering research projects.

Part of Martindale’s main duties as a forward-based international program manager include building and managing productive relationships among researchers that cross national boundaries.

“This allows us to leverage investments and advances made in other countries, to take advantage of the alternate approaches that different cultures can take to scientific exploration and to prevent technological surprise by maintaining a worldwide awareness of the field,” Martindale said.

Martindale noted that synthetic biology is an especially exciting field, as new capabilities are opening up every day, including advances in computation and information handling.

“Advances in computation and information handling allow us to simulate complex biological networks and very dynamic processes,” Martindale said. “The human genome project, completed 13 years ago, was the starting point for the ability to collect DNA information on the billions of organisms around us, and understanding of the microbiome is just beginning to yield important changes in our understanding of human health and performance.”

Because synthetic biology is as much an information science as a physical science, Martindale said, countries that may not be able to afford “big science” can still make significant contributions, and ARL’s ability to partner with them allows the laboratory to multiply its effectiveness in these areas.

Martindale’s work with synthetic biology falls under ARL’s Materials Research campaign.

The Army of 2030 will require materials with unprecedented capabilities that can be rapidly grown or synthesized and processed cost-effectively to enable Army platforms that are highly mobile, information reliant, lethal and protected.

The Materials Research campaign addresses those needs through areas of emphasis to include biotechnology and bio-inspired materials, which are focused on new biological materials derived through synthetic biology as well as classical approaches.

“Biomaterials such as spider silk are already in the realm of applied science, with application to lightweight ballistic armor,” Martindale said. “Basic research is now investigating how to design materials that sense environmental changes and respond to them.”

For example, clothing may one day warn Soldiers of chemical or biological hazards and simultaneously begin counteracting those agents. Armor could sense damage to itself and initiate repair.

“The potential for human health is very exciting, as we understand how to choose or engineer probiotics to help humans heal, resist disease and recover rapidly from injury,” Martindale said.

According to Martindale, other efforts concentrate on systems to produce and store energy, providing bio-based electricity, and systems to create such specialized materials as photonic crystals, found in the scales of butterfly wings, and active camouflage, found in the skin of octopus.

Martindale is slated to remain in this position for three to five years, when she will then have a position waiting for her back at ARO headquarters in North Carolina.

For the time being, however, Martindale is enjoying every facet of living and working overseas.

“Living and working overseas is an adventure every day,” Martindale said. “I spent three years based in London and traveling to conferences, research institutions, and universities in Europe and the former Soviet Union, and loved every minute of it. It’s like being struck by lightning twice to now have the opportunity to do the same in Tokyo and the Asian theater.”

Learning about the cultures that she has the opportunity to interact with are at the top of Martindale’s list.

“I enjoy learning about the cultures I interact with and being exposed to the languages, although I have to admit the Asian languages are a challenge far beyond what I’m capable of with my background,” Martindale said. “Fortunately, the international language of science is English, so among researchers it is not uncommon to find English speakers.”

In terms of researching overseas, Martindale has found similarities with what she experiences in the U.S., especially in regard to the types of questions researchers try to answer and their interest in forming strong working relationships. There are, however, some differences that take time to adjust to, and thankfully for Martindale, she has the support of ARL staff from thousands of miles away.

“Each culture is different and administrative questions can be harder to answer than scientific ones because different countries may define differently what government verses civilian or privatized is, how contract law is handled, and how researchers apportion time and money,” Martindale said. “Fortunately, ARL, and ARO as a part of ARL, have a lot of experience in international contracting, so I have good support.”

For Martindale, the decision to take this position was an easy one, and a decision that will not only enhance the capabilities of ARL, but will enrich her personal experiences.

“Being able to travel the world to talk to researchers and academics about science is as good as it gets,” Martindale said. “There are demands, of course. The travel can be tiring, and there are some long flights involved. There are expenses, especially associated with moving and settling in, that can take you by surprise. And family circumstances are important. The Army is very supportive, but it still has to be a good fit and good timing for kids in school and spouses in their careers.”

She noted that those interested in a similar position have to be willing to enjoy the adventure, which can mean getting lost in a foreign city, learning a new metro system, figuring out how to charge electronics with different infrastructure, dealing with local currency and exchange rates and finding a meal where you don’t understand the language.

“Putting that all together may make it seem daunting, but it really is manageable, and there are lots of people to help, from colleagues here in the Tokyo office to U.S. Department of Defense resources throughout the world,” Martindale said.

Amidst the challenges that are inherent when taking on a new position in a foreign country, Martindale is committed to her current role and the opportunities that it will provide ARL.

“Years ago I was advised by a fellow international program manager, “never take it for granted – enjoy where you are.” I have found these to be wise words no matter where I am,” Martindale said.

Dr. Jurist
was simultaneously a physicist and a medical researcher before becoming involved in business. He earned degrees in biophysics and nuclear medicine while he was at the UCLA School of Medicine with his dissertation work performed in the Division of Orthopedic Surgery. Dr. Jurist has held faculty positions at the University of Wisconsin (Madison) in the Medical School’s Division of Orthopedic Surgery and in the Space Science and Engineering Center. In the former, he studied human factors in space flight during Apollo and what was then called Apollo Applications and organized a metabolic bone disease laboratory for translational research. In the latter during the early 1970s, he was team leader of the group that transmitted the first medical imaging over communications satellite links in a precursor to telemedicine. In the business arena, he created and ran a biomedical engineering consulting firm, was president of a successful outpatient surgical center, and founded a nonprofit medical research institute and ran it for four years. Dr. Jurist is experienced in evaluating a business plan and in running a business. He has applied his experience to the developing NewSpace industry as an investor in several small NewSpace corporations, supported R&D in others with corporate grants, and has partly funded academic propulsion, robotics, and biodynamics research groups at multiple universities. Among other professional organizations, he is currently a Life Member of the International Association of Military Flight Surgeon Pilots, an Associate Fellow of the Aerospace Medical Association, an Emeritus member of the Orthopaedic Research Society, and a Fellow of the Gerontological Society. His teaching and research activities revolve around his present position as Adjunct Professor of Biophysics and Aviation at Rocky Mountain College and his previous Adjunct Professorship at the Space Studies Department of the University of North Dakota.

2. Tuesday, December 19, 2017, 7-8:30 PM PST (December 20, 3-4:30 GMT)
Integrated Space Plan Updates and the Space Financial Group with Jay Wittner and Josh Powers.

Jay Wittner serves as President of Integrated Space Analytics (the company behind the Integrated Space Plan), is a Founding Partner of the Space Finance Group, and is currently serving his 4th term on the National Space Society’s Board of Directors. He has been a member of the National Space Society and other space advocacy groups since 1986 and has participated in over a dozen of the National Space Society’s ISDC conferences.  During his service on the National Space Society Board he has served on several committees, and for several years he was Vice President of Membership and a member of the Executive Committee. His financial support of NSS was recognized by a permanent appointment to the Buzz Aldrin Council.  Outside of the space arena, he serves as President of Kickstarter Coaching, a consulting firm providing advice & support on crowdfunding campaigns.  Since graduating from Emory University Business School with a degree in Finance, Mr. Wittner has worked in and consulted on numerous industries including: crowdfunding, investing, jewelry, non-profits, real estate, retail, and space.

Josh Powers currently volunteers as Deputy Director of DC Operations for Explore Mars Inc. and serves on the Board of Advisors of Integrated Space Analytics.  He previously served as Senior Vice President and member of the Board of Directors of the National Space Society.  He currently co-chairs the annual Humans to Mars Summit and previously chaired the 2008 and 2012 International Space Development Conferences.  Mr. Powers received a B.S. in aerospace engineering from the University of Notre Dame and an M.S. in mechanical engineering from George Washington University.  He lives and works in Northern Virginia.

3. Friday, December 22, 2017, 9:30-11 AM PST (17:30-19 GMT)
Jim Keravala has updates and good news for us for the holidays.

Jim Keravala is Co-founder of Flaii, Inc. and serves as its Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Keravala has been a leader of top-level international teams in the aerospace, finance and technology sectors for almost 20 years. An expert in cognitive mapping and dynamic visualization, he combines a deep knowledge of international business and technology trends with practical expertise in building cross-cultural teams that cut across diverse sectors. He was responsible for establishing a commercial space development office in Moscow where he led a team of ten senior Russian engineers and staff members. Mr. Keravala helped lead the effort to transform the Russian launch industry from centralized communist planning to capitalism. In 1998, he became a launch manager at the Surrey Space Centre in England, handling launch operations for commercial and governmental clients worldwide – including NASA, ESA, and the United States Air Force. He worked with the Surrey team to assist emerging nations in establishing local space capabilities – including engineering facilities, spacecraft fabrication centers, and national space agencies. In 2004, he left Surrey to lead cross-cultural teams that focused on capital intensive projects in infrastructure finance and development. His executive experience gave him a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities of international management and business communication.

You can listen to the shows under www.TheSpaceShow.com
Source and copyright by The Space Show.

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