The Blue Abyss team is working with Central Bedfordshire Council to create the £120m facility, designed by London’s Gherkin architect Robin Partington, on part of the RAF Henlow site, which is due to close by 2020. Blue Abyss will house the world’s biggest 50m deep pool, a hotel, an astronaut training centre including parabolic flight capability, hypobaric and hyperbaric chambers and a human performance centre to enable divers, astronauts and top athletes to perform at the peak of their potential.
Plans include a conference theatre and training rooms, and a 120-bed hotel.
Blue Abyss will fulfill a crucial role in the growth of the UK’s space industry, highlighted by the government in the Queen’s Speech last week. It hopes to start building at the end of the year to start operating in 2019, bringing about 160 new jobs.
The Blue Abyss team plans to reuse some facilities at RAF Henlow, including a centrifuge base already installed at the site for its long-arm human centrifuge for high-G astronaut training.
A launch event, sponsored by Northumbria University, will be held at Cranfield University on Tuesday June 27, attended by representatives of the European Space Agency (ESA), Romanian cosmonaut Dumitru-Dorin Prunariu, Blue Abyss non-executive director, and representatives from central and local government.
Blue Abyss will provide an arena for pioneering research and development into extreme environments, which in turn will enable better human performance in deep sea and space environments by encouraging innovation.
The research and development will help to reduce risk, test operational procedures, improve performance and aid exploration in these environments.
The centre will also offer a wide range of experiential ‘space preparation’ packages for groups and individuals.
These packages will run alongside a ground-breaking commercial astronaut training programme to allow ordinary people to undergo a full astronaut training programme ready for the wave of commercial spaceflight opportunities coming to market.
Blue Abyss chief executive John Vickers said its aim was to transform human life science research and performance training in extreme environments, focusing on advanced commercial diving skills, underwater and space robotics, human spaceflight preparation, professional athlete fitness and healthcare from a better understanding of human physiology under extreme conditions.
Blue Abyss’ education outreach programme and collaboration with universities will help shape a new generation of scientists and engineers, working with primary schools through to post-graduate and post-doctorate researchers.
RAF Henlow provides the ideal site for Blue Abyss. The market is waiting for this facility – space tourism, the UK space programme and the demand for experiential packages.
“Having a centrifuge base already there is an important feature because it’s the most expensive and difficult element of the equipment to install.
“Being part of something bigger, working closely with a proactive council in its enabling and planning capacity and bringing jobs to the area, means we can make the incredibly exciting facilities for the industries we will serve a reality, for UK plc and increase the profile of space travel, space adventure and tourism, deep-sea and offshore energy innovation.
“The government highlighted in the Queen’s Speech how important the space industry is for UK plc. It wants to make the UK the most attractive place in Europe for commercial spaceflight to help increase the UK share of the global space economy to 10% by 2030.”
Professor Simon Evetts, Blue Abyss Space Operations Director, said: “By being progressive and investing in a sector that has grown throughout the recent economic downturn, we not only ensure our space sector remains vibrant when the UK leaves the EU, but we also provide the UK itself with a high-growth, innovative field of endeavour to help underpin our future.”
Offshore technology for the oil & gas and renewables industries will be tested in the pool, and hyperbaric chambers, providing a vital role in bringing new robotic and human aid technologies to market.
Blue Abyss will be working with world-leading companies and academic institutions to develop the UK’s reputation and status as an industrial nation.
The centre’s Kuehnegger Human Performance Centre will house specialist diver, astronaut and athlete research and development facilities. The centre will include a microgravity simulation suite with a traversable, full-body suspension system plus additional hypobaric chambers to facilitate hypoxia and altitude training, rehabilitation and physiological studies.
“Our education provision will be vital to give students from across the UK and the world the opportunity to work on real-world projects with internationally renowned academics that they would not have had access to otherwise,” Mr Vickers said.
“Blue Abyss will provide a crucial offering to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) agenda in the UK by providing a truly exciting arena for science to be taught and experienced.”
Cllr James Jamieson, Leader of Central Bedfordshire Council, said:
“The council welcomes the proposals to bring Blue Abyss to the Henlow site as a central part of a comprehensive mixed use regeneration vision.
The proposal of a science, innovation and technology park at Henlow with Blue Abyss as a key investor will secure many high-tech jobs for the local area and beyond and ensure sustainable regeneration of this former RAF site.
“The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) representing the Ministry of Defence (MoD), and central government, are exploring opportunities to work in partnership with Central Bedfordshire to secure the sustainable redevelopment of the Henlow RAF site.
“Central Bedfordshire is pleased to be working in partnership with Blue Abyss to bring these exciting, innovative proposals to fruition within central Bedfordshire.”
The event at Cranfield will be sponsored by Northumbria University, which has a burgeoning aerospace medicine and rehabilitation laboratory, and aims to conduct world leading research in the fields of aviation medicine, space medicine, and terrestrial healthcare/rehabilitation.
Scientists at the university are also working with the University of Edinburgh to develop a prototype engine based on solid-to-vapour transformation, which could be used for harvesting energy on the surface of Mars and other extreme environments.
Professor Greta Defeyter, Associate Pro Vice Chancellor for Strategic Planning & Engagement, said: “Northumbria University, Newcastle, is committed to working in partnership and sees this as essential to support its ambition as a research-rich, business-focused, professional university with a global reputation for academic excellence. As such, the University is delighted to be supporting Blue Abyss through their official launch.”
Dr Nick Caplan, Associate Professor of Musculoskeletal Health, added “At Northumbria, we have been developing human spaceflight related activities for nearly 10 years within the Aerospace Medicine and Rehabilitation Laboratory.
We understand the challenges in accessing space environments for research and development, and Blue Abyss will soon be able to provide these. We are excited about what the future holds for human spaceflight research in the UK, and here at Northumbria University, as we build a strong relationship with Blue Abyss.”
Image: Cllr James Jamieson, Leader Central Bedfordshire Council with John Vickers, MD Blue Abyss
ITU – XPRIZE Inaugural AI for Good Summit Takes Place in Geneva
Invited Speaker Barry Ressler, Chairman & CEO of ISMC, discusses the use and challenges of Artificial Intelligence for Citizen Health and Medical Ethics
Geneva, Switzerland, (June 7-9, 2017) ISMC Chairman and CEO Barry Ressler took part in the United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU) – XPRIZE inaugural Summit on Artificial Intelligence for Good as an invited speaker. The groundbreaking event brought together policymakers, industry leaders, financial institutions, academia and civil society from both developed and developing countries, as well as United Nations agencies, to discuss the role Artificial Intelligence (AI) can play in solving humanity’s biggest challenges. Special attention was given to how AI can be used to help achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
The three-day summit, whose opening speakers included Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General of the ITU and Marcus Shingles, CEO of the XPRIZE Foundation, provided an excellent forum for debate on the importance and future of AI solutions in addressing global issues like hunger, poverty, health and the environment. Mr Ressler highlighted some significant AI applications under development by ISMC, focused on education, space medicine, and food/agriculture. He focused on diagnosing the speciation and state of viral, bacterial, fungi, spore and amoeba pathogens at the early stage of an outbreak based on patented algorithms and empirically proven dynamic modeling and simulation to be machine learned by an AI platform. This is not to treat patients but to mitigate the source of infection. The objective is to offset a remote, out of control epidemic/pandemic. The technology and systems that we are developing for Low earth Orbit conditions and eventually interplanetary colonization is about as remote as you can get compared to isolated remote locations on earth. Mr. Ressler further commented on the critical need to address antimicrobial resistance, a priority area shared by the World Health Organization (WHO).
ISMC was also represented at the meeting by COO Steve Diamond, and Fabrizio Gramuglio, CEO of their affiliate company Forever Identity and John Vickers, Managing Director of their partner project company Blue Abyss, an enterprise aiming to build a premier aquatic and space extreme environment research, development and training facility in the UK. Mr Ressler was joined on the Artificial Intelligence for Citizen Health and Medical Ethics panel by Abha Saxena, Coordinator of Global Health Ethics for the World Health Organization (WHO), Jay Komarneni, Founder & Chair of the Human Diagnosis Project, and Christiane Woopen, Professor of Ethics and Theory of Medicine, University of Cologne, in what was an excellent opportunity to build and strengthen networks with respected innovators in the field of AI.
The panel was moderated by Mohamed Alkady, the president of Hart, a medical technology company that’s improving the ways in which people inside and outside of the industry access and engage with health data.
About ISMC, Inc.
ISMC is committed to advancing the state-of-the-art in the innovative field of space medicine and to collaborate with leading space communities and organizations in the exciting area of human space exploration. It further aims to connect space exploration and humanity by pioneering space medicine technologies and applications. This commitment will position ISMC in support of future international human spaceflight missions and the emerging commercial space tourism industry.
International Space Medicine Consortium Inc.
Phone: USA +1-202-429-8439
In January 2015, the ISMC science team participated in research studies concerning viral and bacterial contamination of the environment and focused on health, food/beverage, agriculture and aquaculture including the application of transgenic science. The various technologies and protocols available at that time were large, heavy and required high kW of input power. The requisite cooling systems and materials to protect the operators (radiation, HV, optical wavelengths) added to the size and weight problem.
One of ISMC’s priorities was to develop diagnostic and therapeutic systems with protocols that could operate in microgravity orbiting environs (ISS) and LEO operating stations (water mining, refueling). We also knew that interplanetary colonization would require compact, lightweight, utility power and maintenance in a robust package to withstand the radiation and hyper/micro-G operating conditions. We investigated the current state of the art in X-Ray, Gamma Ray, E-O, and UV, including LP, MP, mercury, amalgam and dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) germicidal light sources, but did not find them appropriate for space applications
In April, 2015, ISMC initiated an internally funded research program, the ISMC LED PROJECT for space (LEO and Interplanetary). We compared existing systems to the current state of the art of high spectral intensity SMD LED’s at discreet narrow germicidal lambda. ISMC, with support from STAR Associates Inc, initially created various array configurations of multiple LED elements to map and determine the optimum geometric distribution to deliver germicidal uniformity. We then exposed the LED array of germicidal light to a range of cross sectional areas and measured the intensity roll-off with respect to distance from the LED array light source. STAR conducted these initial experiments using LEDs from 3 global manufacturers and determined that only one had the capability to meet the spectral intensity, repeatability and environmental conditions for space applications.
Once the spectral intensity data profiles had been established, the next eight months were dedicated to testing the LED arrays to identify dose response for specific panels of bacterial and viral organisms that have been identified as primary microbes in space.
The first objective was to establish the DNA/nucleic acid metabolic recovery and profile the repair cycle using the LED arrays. These test and measurement data sets were conducted using 6 germicidal wavelengths with increasing spectral intensity steps to determine “D” value comparatives to published data using other established methods.
Importantly, we were able to achieve comparable data to current technology but at dramatic reductions in size and weight. We unexpectedly observed new advanced intercept methods of repair protocols that were not readily achievable using conventional technology.
We are well aware that our designated target microbes will be mutated during transit to LEO and that our 1-G findings will need to be retested for verification on the mutated state in LEO. In consideration of unmanned orbiting experiments, ISMC and its affiliated company, Forever Identity, have been evaluating the use of AI, HCI, machine learning and expert systems studies on our process.
We are seeking project partners and financing to initiate the next phase of our project to compare our 1-G data under micro-G conditions. Since the mutated changes will be the norm that will dominate microbes in space for humanity, the ISMC platform will be able to provide the rugged reliability, reproducibility, reduced size and light weight needed in space.
The causes of osteoporosis in microgravity may be manifold. Most of the research has been dedicated to studying bone weight loading, muscle atrophy, osteoblastic biocellular changes and paratharmone effects. These studies are focused on bone formation while little research has been performed on bone resorption. ISMC has focused on the the resorption mechanism of the osteoclast at 1-G, hyper-G during transport and in micro-gravity.
We have applied mathematical modeling to confirm our understanding of the effects of osteoblast/osteoclast changes on the balance of bone formation. Multivariable analysis helps understand how the molecular biological changes of the osteoclast in micro-gravity, with and without radiation, effects osteoporosis.
Space radiation ((gamma, proton, carbon and ion) increases the bone loss risks of microgravity exposure. This leads to premature onset of osteoporosis, fractures, arterial calcification, mineral leaching and decreased bone quality. Literature has shown that serum markers for bone formation and resorption from the ion radiation exposed rats have indicated that the bone loss is caused by increased osteoclastic bone resorption. During space flight, osteoclast activation through skeletal unloading has also been noted to cause bone loss. ISMC plans to add studies of the mechanisms associated with increased osteoclastogenesis under exposure to space radiation. We understand that osteoporosis after radiation therapy is also a problem.
This will enable not only the development of suitable anti-resorptive countermeasures requiring minimal intervention, but also in ascertaining optimal dosage for therapy. Our modeling with our University partners will help us predict the threshold RANKL concentration likely to induce increased osteoclast genesis in microgravity.
Our studies and research interest of the osteoclast can lead to new pharmaceuticals that can interfere with bone resorption in MicroG; however, the findings can also be used to prevent osteoporosis at 1G.
ISMC welcomes collaboration with experts, universities, government agencies and corporations
Osteoporosis after radiation therapy is a problem.