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The Blank Slate Part 1

The Blank Slate Part I

ID-100220297.jpg I am sure many of you have thought it would be great to have a blank slate to which you add whatever you want. Or perhaps you have already gone through this process when building a home or starting with an empty commercial space and filling it with your business. You need to think of everything you must add to those 4 walls, ceiling, and floor to make the space work for your particular needs. This is exactly what we are doing now with help from NASA personnel.

When we go to Kennedy Space Center, we will need standard laboratory space (termed wet lab space), regular office space, and appropriate animal facilities. We start with these 3 areas, and we have to think of every item we will need in these empty spaces for our duration (estimated at up to 4 months, see our future blog which will describe the updated timeline).

For the office space, these needs include how many and which brand, size and/or color we need of the following tools: phones, computers, printers, staplers, staples, hole punch, pens, pencils, pads of paper, chairs, desks, trash cans and bags

All of these things need to be identified with a unique vendor and catalog number.

Other questions keep popping up too. “Is there wireless? And, if so, who gets access? What security measures do we need to consider when corresponding?”

In the wet lab, we need to have tables, adjustable height chairs, sterile hoods, chemical fume hoods, sinks, trash cans, special collection containers for different kinds of waste, lights, centrifuges, balances/scales, tubes, racks to hold tubes, special lab tape and pens to write on the lab tape, and everything else that we will need access to for preparing for the spaceflight or for collection of tissues/samples.

We also need cages for the mice, food and water, all of the items required for surgery, all of the PPE or Personal Protection Equipment that protects us from the mice and while also keeping the mice “clean” so that we don’t accidentally introduce something into spaceflight which could infect the astronauts. We will be in a clean room type facility and will be wearing “bunny suits.” We need to list the sizes of all of the personnel to ensure the proper fit of the PPE.

We can’t forget about the astronauts either. We need to request all of the required spaceflight hardware and all the instruments the astronauts will need access to in order to complete our studies. As you can imagine this list is very long…..and as this blog is also getting very long, I thought we should continue it next week.

Written by Melissa Kacena


Image courtesy of sumetho at

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.

Carl Pinkham