Returning guest, Dominic D’Agostino, is a researcher and professor in the department of molecular pharmacology and physiology at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine. On today’s episode, he offers fascinating insight into a recent mission he completed in collaboration with NASA, which involved a number of experiments carried out under sea with the purpose of emulating activities that are essential to space missions. He explains how different space analogs under the sea can mimic neutral buoyancy and microgravity in space, the use of mini DNA analyzers to analyze the microbiome of the habitat and surface of astronauts’ skin, the physiological effects of hyperbaric pressure which presents three times the amount of oxygen and nitrogen than the average person is accustomed to, a number of extravehicular activities (EVAs) to include the testing of astronaut rescue devices and drills for sampling rock or coral, the health impact and ways of dealing with extremely high concentrations of carbon dioxide, and decompression sickness.
He also discusses what he considers the biggest challenge in space, which is living in confined habitats for long periods of time. Navigating these issues means addressing team cognition and psychology, as well as the practical concerns associated with performing a variety of scientific experiments and tasks in such small and enclosed spaces. These are just a few of the subjects D’Agostino discusses on today’s episode, and he brings an impressive amount of knowledge to every single one.
Press play to hear the full conversation.