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May 30, 2012: News, Research and Events from the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy
Baker Institute Update: Ensuring safe travels to Mars and beyond
In this edition
Ensuring safe travels to Mars and beyond

Orbiting 240 miles above Earth, the International Space Station (ISS) is a premier research laboratory where a multinational crew of astronauts and cosmonauts is studying the health effects of long-duration space travel.

This important work is the focus of the Baker Institute Space Policy Program's International Space Medicine Summit (ISMS), co-hosted by the Baylor College of Medicine. Each year since 2007, the world's leading physicians, space biomedical scientists, engineers, astronauts, cosmonauts and educators have gathered at the institute for high-level discussions on the research needed to address the medical, psychological and biomedical challenges of flights to Mars and beyond.

More than 140 participants — including representatives from Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States — attended this year's event (pictured above) on May 17-20.

"The well-being of the world's astronauts and cosmonauts is a universal concern of the people charged with minimizing the health risks of flying humans in space," said George Abbey, the institute's Baker Botts Senior Fellow in Space Policy. "The ISMS and the free exchange of experiences and ideas helps to focus on the need for cooperation in accomplishing the research needed to ensure the health of not only today's spacefarers but also future generations of human space explorers."

The Space Policy Program also seeks to promote international collaboration in space at the student level through its Moscow Summer Intern Program. In July, nine U.S. interns will travel to Russia, where they will join students from around the world for a workshop at Bauman Moscow State Technical University's Youth Space Center. The students will also visit the Russian Control Center in Korolev, the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, the Kremlin and Red Square.

The Moscow trip follows an April 2012 weeklong visit to the Baker Institute by a group of Bauman students and scholars interested in furthering communication and collaboration with the Baker Institute. The Russian guests toured the Johnson Space Center and other space-related institutes and companies in the Houston area, meeting with scientists, astronauts and educators.

"Observing the first generation of university students born after the end of the Cold War and seeing them work together as partners and friends bodes well for the future of international cooperation in space and the future of peace between the U.S. and Russia," said Baker Institute logistics manager Jason Lyons, who organized the Russian students' trip to Houston and will accompany the interns to Moscow.

Abbey presented Lyons, a 15-year veteran of the Baker Institute, with Rice University's Centennial Star Award at the opening reception for ISMS 2012. The award recognizes outstanding employees for their dedication to and impact on Rice University.
  • View videos of the International Space Medicine Summit 2012, including remarks by keynote speaker Neal Lane, senior fellow in science and technology policy and former science adviser to President Bill Clinton, and David Leebron, Rice University president.
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Upcoming Events
  • Middle East at a Crossroards. His Excellency Ron Prosor, permanent representative of the State of Israel to the United Nations, speaks at the Baker Institute. May 30 at 6:00 pm
  • Europe at a Crossroads: The Case of Portugal. His Excellency Paulo Portas, minister of foreign affairs of the Portuguese Republic, gives a lecture to the Baker Institute Energy Forum at Rice University's Duncan Hall. June 7 at 4:00 pm
For a complete list of upcoming events, visit our events page.


Research and News
For a complete list, visit our publications page.

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Baker Institute Blog
For a complete list, visit the Baker Institute Blog


Recent Webcasts
  • International Space Medicine Summit 2012. Physicians and biomedical scientists gather to discuss space medicine research at this annual conference organized by the Baker Institute and Baylor College of Medicine. May 17
For a complete list, visit our webcast page.

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The James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy is a nonpartisan public policy think tank located on the campus of Rice University in Houston, Texas. The institute's distinguished fellows and scholars research and collaborate with experts from academia, government, the media, business and private organizations on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy.
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