Kona Science Cafe Serves Up Martian Medicine

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With human space exploration ambitions now focused on Mars, scientists are tackling the myriad challenges that will face astronauts making the 200 million mile (or so) journey. Tomorrow, a doctor will explore how medical care and health emergencies might be handled for travelers to the Red Planet.

Dr. Peter Sim — board-certified and licensed in emergency medicine in Hawaii, Virginia and North Carolina — is the featured speaker at tomorrow night’s “Kona Science Cafe.” That’s the new name and website of the long-running “West Hawaii Tech Pau Hana” series of monthly talks and meetups.

“I’ve decide to (finally) create a web site for the event… should have done it a long time ago,” organizer Rod Hinman explained in an email. “Same pau hanas, new site.”

The new brand brings the Big Island event series into a global family of Science Cafe (a.k.a. Cafe Scientifique) gatherings that take place in more than 40 cities around the world, including Honolulu. As proof that great minds think alike, the next Honolulu Science Cafe gathering on Feb. 16 will also focus on Mars research.

“I’m definitely not limiting the topics to science alone,” Hinman added. “Tech and entrepreneurism are still wanted.”

In Kona tomorrow, Dr. Sim will present “Far Out! Medicine on Mars,” covering the medical challenges associated with travel to and habitation on Mars, including problems created by microgravity, isolation, toxic dust exposure, and a lack of complex medical care. He will also talk about the current HI-SEAS mission on Mauna Loa, which initially sparked his interest in the topic last year while visiting Puʻu Waʻawaʻa Ranch.

The meetup will begin at 5 p.m. at the NELHA Gateway Center, and as always is a “no waste” potluck gathering. Attendees will share in pupus and non-alcoholic drinks and stimulating conversation, then pack up their reusable plates, cups and utensils for another day.

For more information, visit Hinman’s new website at KonaScienceCafe.org, or sign up for the email newsletter at TinyLetter.com/RodHinman.

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