July 18, 2019


Dartmouth professor who flew on NASA mission backs future exploration of space (LAURA EARLE, 7/18/19, Valley News)

 Fifty years ago Saturday, millions of Americans tuned in to watch the Apollo 11 lunar module land on the moon.

Thirteen-year old Jay Buckey, who grew up on Long Island, was one of those eager viewers. Watching Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin take those first steps on the moon, Buckey fell in love with space.

This childhood admiration grew into a lifetime commitment to NASA research and space exploration.

"I always thought that space was a very exciting thing and something I wanted to be a part of," said Buckey, a professor at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, medical director of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center's hyperbaric medicine program and director of its space medicine innovation laboratory.

In 1998, Buckey fulfilled his dream of going to space. As a payload specialist for the final Spacelab mission, he conducted a number of studies on how entering and leaving space affects the nervous system and brain. While the research couldn't be totally conclusive due to a lack of further studies, it did suggest that the presence of gravity is essential to certain aspects of development, such as balance and the nervous system, he said.

Buckey, a Hanover resident, still remembers the feeling of liftoff from NASA's Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla.

"It's very exciting. For launch morning, it's the first time I was in the space shuttle where it actually got turned on," he said.

Today, at 63, Buckey continues to conduct research for NASA. He also runs the clinical hyperbaric oxygen program at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. This treatment consists of a chamber with high-pressure levels of oxygen, which can help heal damaged blood supply. It's useful as therapy for people suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, severe anemia or radiation injuries, among other major health problems. The program at Dartmouth-Hitchcock started because Buckey needed the chamber to study a bubble detector, a technology for detecting decompression sickness.

Posted by at July 18, 2019 5:12 PM