Colloquium: 2018-08-07

Interplanetary Spaceflight Implications of Fifty-Seven Years of Human Space Exploration

Jim Logan

August 7, 2018 at 2:00 P.M. in the Pearl Young Theater
(video within Langley firewall only)


A broad understanding of human response to the space environment has been built by over 510 crew in 275 missions yielding cumulative exposures of over 110 person-years since 1961. However, over 99% of that experience has been in low earth orbit, the vast majority in missions less than six months duration. Improved characterizations of deep space environments combined with a reasonable, evidence-based extrapolation of observed physiological realities make biomedical constraints a chief challenge of the coming era of human interplanetary spaceflight. Unless sufficient attention is given to these significant impediments, the vision of humankind as a celestial species will remain elusive. Success will require fundamental changes to current human interplanetary exploration mission designs and techniques that may be beyond the capabilities of existing organizations and agencies. A multidisciplinary systems approach to mitigate anticipated biomedical limitations reveals the value of innovative mission architectures.


Dr. Jim Logan served as Chief, Flight Medicine and Chief, Medical Operations at Johnson Space Center in Houston. He served as Mission Control Surgeon or Crew Surgeon for twenty-five shuttle missions and Project Manager for the Space Station Medical Facility, developing the initial design for a telemedicine-based inflight medical delivery system for extended missions. At Johnson Space Center, he served as Chief, Medical Informatics & Health Care Systems, Chief, Dive Medicine Board, Medical Director of NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) as well as senior aerospace medical officer in the Clinical Services Branch of the Space Medicine Division until he left NASA in 2012. He is an expert in space medicine and biomedical issues for long-duration spaceflight.