Martz-Kohl Observatory: Astronauts Beware! Radiation Danger Ahead

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Dr S. Robin Elgart, Ph.D. Space Radiation Element Scientist, NASA Human Research Program.
Dr S. Robin Elgart, Ph.D. Space Radiation Element Scientist, NASA Human Research Program.

NASA comes to the Martz-Kohl Observatory, MKO, this month for the next in our popular Zoom-Webinar guest speaker series—as always inviting the public. This month’s special guest also helps MKO celebrate important women in science as part of the 2021 observation of National Women’s History Month.

Dr. S. Robin Elgart, Ph.D. has served as Space Radiation Element Scientist, NASA Human Research Program, since April, 2020. Prior to that she served as a subject matter expert specializing in space radiation health risks for the NASA Space Radiation Analysis Group as well as a Space Environment Officer for Mission Control Center – Houston.

Public Invited

Everyone fascinated by an astronaut’s life and human spaceflight is invited to attend. Simply go to www.martzobservatory.org starting at 7:15 p.m. on Wednesday, March 17. Click on “Space Radiation Health: Risk & Protection” and join in for the 7:30 program. Q&A to follow.

In space, potentially deadly radiation is inescapable. It ranks high among the many hazards that exist for long-duration exploration missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. The omnipresent space radiation environ ent is not only complex but also markedly different from radiation environments encountered here on Earth.

Robin’s primary objective and her key role in NASA’s Human Research Program is to develop and execute a robust applied research strategy to meet the agency’s goal to safely put the first woman on the Moon and the first humans on Mars.

The health risks associated with exposure to space radiation can threaten both mission success and an astronaut’s long-term health. The mission of the Space Radiation Element at NASA’s Johnson Space Center is to protect astronaut health and wellbeing and enable safe and successful, long-duration human spaceflight.

This presentation will provide an overview of the space radiation environments, the associated human health risks, and how the Space Radiation Element is actively pursuing a data-driven tactical approach to space radiation protection that is responsive to agency objectives and enables deep space exploration.

Dr. Elgart received her B.S. in Microbiology from the University of California at Santa Barbara and her Ph.D. in Biomedical Physics from the University of California at Los Angeles in the laboratory of the renowned Dr. Keisuke Iwamoto, author of more than 50 original research studies primarily in radiation biophysics. Robin studied DNA damage following low-dose radiological patient exams.

Your Observatory

Martz-Kohl Observatory wants Jamestown Gazette readers to know that MKO is your observatory because of your support. It is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit corporation, not government or commercially operated.

Though precautions still prevent our usual 200 to 300 in-person visits every month for free tours and deep-sky observing, we still offer Zoom guests the opportunity to contribute to MKO’s mission of public education.

Donations, membership dues, and generous grants alone support the daily operation of MKO and its all-volunteer staff. Visitors are invited to look for the “Donate” button on MKO’s Home Page. If you appreciate and enjoy our free programs, please consider supporting MKO with a tax-deductible gift at any level you feel is appropriate. MKO will always be your observatory because of your support.

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Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.